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Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC)

Collection Development Policy Statement



Library's Collection Development Objectives

I. Statement of Purpose

The Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) is an integrated research collection within the Special Collections division of the LSU Libraries. The primary mission of the LSU Libraries is to serve the teaching, research, and public service needs of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College (LSU) and the scholarly community. The role of LLMVC in accomplishing this mission is to collect, preserve, and make available for research materials relating primarily to the history and culture of Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley region.

II. Types of Programs Supported by LLMVC

A. Research

Materials collected and made available shall further the research of LSU faculty, staff, and students, Louisianians, and visiting scholars in the history and culture of Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley region. In order to support all levels of research, LLMVC shall seek to provide comprehensive resources on the history and culture of Louisiana and the achievements of Louisianians, as well as materials that build on current strengths in documenting the lower Mississippi Valley region from Memphis, Tennessee, south, including parts of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

B. Preservation and Security

Crucial to the ongoing operation of the Special Collections program is the preservation of research materials. As collections are processed, they are stored in acid-free containers in Hill Memorial Library, which features a temperature and humidity controlled environment and fire detection and suppression systems. LLMVC is a non-circulating collection that is maintained in closed stacks. Security measures include security personnel and an alarm system that is monitored by the LSU Police Department.

C. Exhibitions

The Special Collections division mounts on a rotating basis exhibitions featuring and interpreting materials from LLMVC collections. The exhibition areas consist of free standing and wall-mounted exhibit cases. Exhibitions are prepared by Special Collections staff, under the coordination of the Curator of the Rare Book and E. A. McIlhenny Collections. Special Collections will consider requests to loan unrestricted materials and facsimiles for exhibition to other research institutions when the policies and facilities of those institutions meet acceptable standards and proper credit is given to the LSU Libraries. Special Collections also mounts digital exhibitions using LLMVC materials on the World Wide Web.

D. Outreach and Publications

LLMVC seeks to further the use and development of the collections through an outreach program that increases public awareness of the nature and relevance of the collections. This program includes exhibitions (see II.C.); tours of LLMVC facilities and presentations by the curator and staff of LLMVC; and publications such as brochures, catalogs, and a newsletter. Awareness of the collections among the scholarly community will be fostered by cataloging collections in MARC format according to international standards, and making that cataloging available in the LSU online catalog and in international online databases like OCLC and RLIN. In addition, LLMVC will use the World Wide Web and online manuscript collection databases like the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC), the National Inventory of Documentary Sources (NIDS), and ArchivesUSA which are widely available to researchers. LLMVC will seek to publicize acquisitions in the news media and professional, scholarly, and popular publications.

E. Acquisitions

LLMVC acquires materials through donation and purchase. It accepts materials on loan or deposit only in extraordinary circumstances, usually with the understanding that they will be donated outright at a later date. Purchases are financed by income from endowment funds and by cash donations. Donations of materials and funds are essential to maintaining and developing the collections, and the support of donors is consistently sought. Grant funding for special projects will be sought when such projects do not diminish the level of routine care and service of the collections, and when they can contribute substantially to the acquisition, arrangement and description, or servicing of the collections.

III. Clientele Served by the Collections

The policy of LLMVC is to make materials available to researchers on equal terms, subject to the appropriate care and handling of the materials by the researcher. Researchers include faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students, both from LSU and other academic institutions; independent researchers; and the general public. Individuals under age sixteen may use selected materials in LLMVC when accompanied by a parent or guardian. All researchers must produce proper identification (a picture ID such as a driver's license or passport) and must fill out or have on file a current reader registration form.

IV. Priorities and Limitations of the Collection

A. Present Collections Strength

LLMVC is strongest in the areas of 19th-century political economy and business history; antebellum life and culture; plantation life and culture; and agriculture, slavery, and the Civil War, all within Louisiana and those parts of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee that make up the lower Mississippi Valley. It is also strong in documenting Louisiana politics in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly at the congressional level. Geographically, its collections are strongest in those parts of south Louisiana and western Mississippi that make up the Mississippi River Valley from New Orleans to Natchez.

B. Present Collecting Level

LLMVC covers the history, literature, economy, politics, and culture of Louisiana, the lower Mississippi Valley region, and the South, with emphasis on French and Spanish colonial periods; early English and ethnic settlements; war, particularly the Civil War; antebellum and postbellum life and culture; transportation; agriculture; writers; families; pre-20th century women; 20th century regional political leaders and organizations; slavery; African American life and culture; banking; lumber, sugar, cotton, moss, seafood, oil, fur, and other indigenous industries; and social, cultural, and educational organizations. The central collecting focus of LLMVC is on Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley. Southern history apart from this area is limited to collections that are directly or indirectly tied to the area. The University Archives, also a unit within the Special Collections division, houses the official records of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College. LLMVC collects the papers of LSU faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

C. Present Identified Weaknesses

LLMVC is weak in certain areas of the 20th century history, including papers of women, African Americans, and Louisiana's ethnic groups, which LLMVC will aggressively collect.

D. Desired Level of Collecting

As a major research center on Louisiana, LLMVC will aggressively collect all materials that pertain to the history and culture of Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley region, as specified in IV.B. and IV.C., including materials written by and about Louisianians, and creative writing published in Louisiana, by Louisianians, or with a Louisiana setting.

E. Geographic Areas Collected

Louisiana, colonial French and Spanish Louisiana territories, Mississippi, and the lower Mississippi Valley region below Memphis, including parts of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. LLMVC also collects materials in eastern Texas, especially in the Sabine River Valley.

F. Chronological Periods Collected

No limitations; primarily 19th and 20th centuries.

G. Subject Areas Collected

LLMVC collects materials in all subject areas, as specified in IV.B. and IV.C., with particular emphasis given to economic, social, cultural, political, literary, and military history.

H. Languages Collected

LLMVC collects materials primarily in the English language, but also collects materials in languages indigenous to Louisiana, particularly French, and including Spanish, German, Italian, and their respective dialects.

I. Forms of Material Collected

LLMVC is an integrated collection that acquires material in all formats, including monographs, manuscripts, archives, maps, photographs, pamphlets, audio-visual materials, microforms, prints, machine readable records, newspapers, sheet music, oral history, and selected memorabilia. As one of two historical and comprehensive repositories for Louisiana state documents, LLMVC receives, preserves, and makes accessible official publications of the state of Louisiana.

J. Exclusions

LLMVC will not generally accept the following: materials that solely reflect the history of a geographical area other than that listed in IV.E.; partial manuscript collections when major portions of the collection have already been deposited in another repository; and collections of purely genealogical materials.

V. Cooperative Agreements Affecting the Collecting Policy

LLMVC recognizes that other institutions collect in the same or overlapping areas, and will seek to acquire the same unique resources for their own collections. LLMVC also recognizes that other institutions may have prior claim on such materials or be a more appropriate repository to house them. Opportunities to acquire such materials, as well as those not covered by LLMVC collecting policy, will be referred to an appropriate repository. In cases where the legitimate collecting interests of LLMVC and another repository directly conflict, LLMVC will use the best interest of the scholarly community as a criterion in pursuing a resolution.

VI. Statements of Resource Sharing Policy

LLMVC will consider requests to microfilm materials for inclusion in another repository, subject to specific limitations imposed by the terms of acquisition, and subject to the routine photoduplication policy of LLMVC. LLMVC will also work with micropublishers to microfilm its collections and make the microfilm commercially available to other repositories and individual researchers.

VII. Statement of Deaccessioning Policy

Duplicates and materials that do not reflect the collecting areas of LLMVC may be deaccessioned, subject to the terms of acquisition, University regulations, and state and federal laws, and offered to other more appropriate institutions or the donor or donor's family.

VIII. Procedures Affecting Collecting Policy and Its Expedition

A. Deed of Gift

LLMVC will not accept materials without a legal transfer of title, deed of gift or deposit, or other official acknowledgement.

B. Loans and Deposits

Materials loaned to or deposited with LLMVC will be accepted only in extraordinary circumstances and usually with the understanding that the materials are intended to be donated outright at a later date. If materials are deposited or loaned, LLMVC reserves the right to include in any deposit agreement provisions for recovering processing and storage costs for materials that are later returned to the depositer.

C. Closed Collections

LLMVC will not accept collections of materials that are closed to public access in perpetuity.

D. Deaccessioning

LLMVC reserves the right to deaccession any materials within its collections, subject to the terms of acquisition and the notification of the donor or his/her heirs.

E. Exhibitions

LLMVC reserves the right to include unrestricted materials in exhibitions, in accordance with normally accepted archival principles and practices.

F. Revision of Policies

LLMVC reserves the right to change the preceding policies without notification to donors or their heirs.

IX. Procedures for Monitoring Development and Reviewing Collection Development Guidelines

This collecting policy is designed to meet the goals of the LSU Libraries, the Special Collections Division, and the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections. In order to determine the effectiveness of the collecting policy, at the end of every fiscal year, the staff will review the acquisitions, user records, and deaccessions of the preceding twelve-month period. The policy will be re-evaluated and changed as needed to meet the goals of the LSU Libraries and Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Prepared: January 15, 1998

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