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Library Leadership Team To Take Stock of Collections

Dear Colleagues

In June 2013, the Harvard Library Board unanimously approved the report, Towards a Collections and Content Development Strategic Plan for the Harvard Library.  Taking over a year to develop, this report represents the culmination of input from across the library.  Recommendation 6 (on page 10) in the report states that:

"Every library, special collections, and archive will write and share collections and content development policies that will facilitate communication, coordination, and collaboration."

To implement this recommendation, the Library Leadership Team needs assistance in aggregating collection and content development policy information from across all the collections at Harvard.  With the generous assistance of many librarians, curators, and archivists involved in collection development, common data elements associated with collection development practices have been identified.  Using these data elements, an instrument has been created to aggregate data about policies and practices. 

The Library Leadership Team working group that has been organizing the implementation of this recommendation on collections policies will soon be reaching out to library directors, collection development librarians, curators, archivists, and other staff.   If you are unsure of how your library or archive or special collection is planning to complete the survey, I encourage you to speak with your director. 

With help, the Library Leadership Team working group will be able to take an institution-wide look at our collections and the collection development practices that impact them.  This will help the Harvard Library to identify strengths, weaknesses, gaps, and overlaps in our collections.  We hope to use the information to improve collaboration, cooperation, and communication among collection development librarians, curators, and archivists as well as with faculty, students, and staff from across the university.  We also hope to use this information to initiate and implement Harvard-wide collections strategies, and respond to Harvard-wide collections issues and challenges.

If you have any questions, or need assistance, please contact Mark Shelton (, or any of the members of the working group. 

Thank you,

Sarah Thomas

Working Group Members
Leslie Donnell
Doug Gragg
Lynne Schmelz
Megan Sniffin-Marinoff
Mark Shelton (chair)
Ann Whiteside
Ceilyn Boyd (project manager)