E. A. McILHENNY NATURAL HISTORY COLLECTION

Collection Development Policy Statement


[Rev. 1.1, December 3, 1997]

I. Statement of Purpose: The E. A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection is administered as part 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 the University and the scholarly community. The role of the McIlhenny Collection in accomplishing this mission is to collect, preserve, and make available for research printed materials and graphic art relating to natural history, with special emphasis on botany and ornithology of the New World.

II. Types of Programs Supported by the Collection.

A. Research. Materials will be collected and made available to further the research of LSU faculty, staff, and students, state residents, and visiting scholars in the field of natural history, as well as modern botany and ornithology. In particular, the collection seeks to support the programs of the LSU Herbarium and the LSU Museum of Natural Science.

B. Preservation and Security. Preservation of research materials is crucial to the ongoing operations of the McIlhenny Collection. The collection is housed in Hill Memorial Library, which features a temperature and humidity controlled environment and fire detection and suppression systems. The McIlhenny Collection is non- circulating and is maintained in closed stacks. Security measures include security personnel, and an alarm system that is monitored by the LSU Police Department.

C. Exhibitions. As part of the overall Special Collections program, materials from the McIlhenny Collection are featured, as appropriate, in exhibitions mounted in Hill Memorial Library and on the World Wide Web by Special Collections staff. Special Collections will consider requests to loan unrestricted materials and reproductions for exhibition to other institutions when the policies and facilities of those institutions meet acceptable standards and proper credit is given to the LSU Libraries.

D. Outreach and Publications.. Special Collections staff seek to further the use and development of the McIlhenny Collection through an outreach program that increases public awareness of the nature and relevance of the collection. This program includes exhibitions, presentations by the curator, publications such as brochures, catalogs, press releases, and notification of new acquisitions to appropriate members of the University community.

E. Acquisitions. The curator acquires materials for the McIlhenny Collection through donation, loan and deposit, and purchase. Purchases are financed by income from endowment funds and by cash donations. Donations of materials and funds are essential to maintaining and developing the McIlhenny Collection, 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 collection, and when they can contribute substantially to acquisitions, enhancement of bibliographic control, preservation and conservation, or servicing of the collections.

III. Clientele Served by the Collections.. The policy of Special Collections is to make materials from the McIlhenny Collection 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 institutions; independent researchers; and the general public. Individuals under age sixteen may use selected materials in the McIlhenny Collection 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 Collection Strength and Collecting Levels. The McIlhenny Collection is strongest in the areas of botanical and ornithological illustration. On a selective basis, the curator of the McIlhenny Collection seeks to acquire major illustrated works of natural history, both historical and currently published, focusing particularly on botanical and ornithological illustration of New World species, as well as works concerning illustrators and naturalists in these fields. In addition, the curator seeks to acquire basic reference materials that support research in these fields.

B. Present Identified Weaknesses. The McIlhenny Collection lacks many important antiquarian works in the field of natural history (for example, the first and second editions of Mark Catesby's The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, and the first folio and first octavo editions of John James Audubon's The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, the eighth edition of Philip Miller's The Gardener's Dictionary). Furthermore, funding levels in the past have not permitted the acquisition of all currently published materials appropriate to the collection. Some 19th and 20th century materials that are appropriate for the McIlhenny Collection are currently part of the LSU Libraries' general circulating collection. These are being transferred to the McIlhenny Collection as they are identified.

C. Desired Level of Collecting. In order to maintain the stature and usefulness of the McIlhenny Collection, all appropriate new materials should be acquired as they are published. To increase the collection's usefulness to researchers and value to the general public, gaps in the antiquarian holdings must be filled. The curator of the collection, with the assistance of the LSU Libraries administration, seeks to develop a major endowment that will allow the on-going acquisition of all appropriate in-print materials, in addition to more selective acquisition of out-of-print and antiquarian materials. An endowment of $5 million is needed to provide the minimum funding required to cover acquisition costs of appropriate currently published materials and also provide funds to fill some gaps in the collection's antiquarian holdings.

D. Geographic Areas Collected. Primary emphasis is on the New World. Because of existing strengths in the collection, materials pertaining to Great Britain and Australia may also be acquired. Influential works of natural history will not be excluded on the basis of geographic orientation.

E. Chronological Periods. No limitations.

F. Languages Collected. No limitations. However, English and Western European languages predominate.

G. Forms of Material Collected. The McIlhenny Collection acquires primarily published print materials and original works of botanical or ornithological art. Manuscript materials are not generally sought, but may be acquired if they are of extraordinary relevance to printed materials in the collection.

Exclusions. The McIlhenny Collection will not generally acquire the following:
  • works that pertain solely to horticulture, agriculture, or animal science in any of its branches
  • illustrated books or art works that feature plants or animals prominently, but without scientific reference or significance
  • works of poetry or fiction that feature plants or animals prominently, but without scientific reference or significance
  • works that deal primarily with the biology or zoology of living entities at the systemic or cellular level
  • works that deal with environmental science, with the exception of those focused on New World bioms
  • works that deal primarily with the political, economic, and social implications of botanical and ornithological science.

V. Cooperative Agreements Affecting the Collecting Policy. No formal cooperative agreements with other libraries are currently in effect. It is recognized that other institutions collect in the same or overlapping areas, and will seek to acquire the same resources for their own collections. In some cases, other institutions may be more appropriate repositories for rare materials. Opportunities to acquire such materials, as well as those not covered by the McIlhenny Collection development policy, will be referred to an appropriate repository. In cases where the legitimate collecting interests of the McIlhenny Collection and another repository directly conflict, the curator will use the best interest of the scholarly community as a criterion in pursuing a resolution.

VI. Statement of Resource Sharing Policy. The curator of the McIlhenny Collection will consider requests to microfilm, photocopy, or lend materials needed by other institutions, subject to specific limitations imposed by the terms of acquisition, and subject to the photoduplication policy of Special Collections.

VII. Statement of Deaccessioning Policy. Materials that do not reflect the collecting area of the McIlhenny Collection may be transferred to a more appropriate collection within the LSU Libraries or deaccessioned, subject to the terms of acquisition, University regulations, and state and federal laws.

VIII. Procedures Affecting Collecting Policy and Its Expedition.

A. Deed of Gift. The McIlhenny Collection will not accept materials without a legal transfer of title, deed of gift or deposit, or other official acknowledgment.

B. Deposits. The McIlhenny Collection does not ordinarily accept materials on deposit. However, materials deposited with the McIlhenny Collection will be accepted when the conditions for acceptance are favorable to the LSU Libraries, usually with the understanding that such materials will be donated at a later date. Materials on deposit will be properly housed but they will not be cataloged or otherwise processed. If materials are deposited, the McIlhenny Collection will include as a part of the deposit agreement provisions for recovering storage costs for materials if they are later returned to the owner. Deposit agreements must be made in writing prior to acceptance.

C. Restricted Materials. The McIlhenny Collection will not accept materials that are not available to public access in perpetuity.

D. Deaccessioning. The McIlhenny Collection reserves the right to deaccession any materials within the collection, subject to the terms of acquisition, University regulations, and state and federal laws.

E. Exhibitions. The McIlhenny Collection reserves the right to include unrestricted materials in exhibitions, in accordance with the normally accepted tenets of rare book librarianship.

F. Revision of Policies. The McIlhenny Collection reserves the right to change the preceding policies without notification to heirs of donors.

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 McIlhenny Collection. On an annual basis, this policy will be reviewed, evaluated, and changed as necessary to meet these goals. Annual reports will be used as the primary information source for this review, with collateral information being drawn from user surveys, budget information, faculty interviews, and other relevant information compiled by the curator.