Mission of the Library

The Seeley G. Mudd Library, a partner in the teaching and learning mission of the college and Conservatory of Lawrence University, seeks to prepare students for a lifetime of learning and independent inquiry. The library develops, organizes and maintains collections to support and enhance the curriculum, provides access to information worldwide, helps members of the Lawrence community find the resources they need and teaches the skills necessary to identify, locate, evaluate and use those resources.

Goals for the Collection

The primary goal of collection development at Lawrence is to build and maintain a library collection supporting the curriculum that is responsive to both student and faculty needs. Every effort will be made to provide the faculty with the materials they need to teach as well as conduct research. To encourage reading and current awareness, primarily among students, the library provides a collection of popular and recreational reading materials and films.

The Library is active in collecting, publishing and providing access to the scholarship and history of Lawrence. Lux is Lawrence University’s institutional repository, an electronic archive of scholarship created by the University community. See our Lux policy page for FAQs and the Lux collection policy. The University Archives is responsible for collecting and preserving the history of both Lawrence University and Milwaukee-Downer College. A more detailed description of collection policies for the Archives can be found on our Archives collection development policy.

Selection Guidelines

Faculty recommendations play a primary role in building our collection.  Materials we purchase are primarily in English (except to support our foreign language departments).

There are materials we normally do not purchase such as textbooks, duplicate titles and dissertations, however, requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Material to Support the Conservatory

The music collection primarily serves study and performance needs of Conservatory faculty and students. However, since the entire University community uses and benefits from the collection, the Music Librarian accepts requests for music-related materials, e.g., books, scores, CDs, DVDs, etc. from all University faculty, staff and students.


Due to the continuing commitment and unknown yearly cost increases of a serial subscription, new titles must be considered carefully. If a journal title is available for purchase in both print and electronic editions, we purchase the electronic edition. Departments are also encouraged to evaluate the journals the library currently purchases for them to ensure that they continue to be appropriate in content and format.

Government Documents

Lawrence University participates in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Our selection profile reflects FDLP recommendations for an academic collection.  We receive seven percent of the items available from the Government Printing Office. These documents are primarily available as electronic editions.

The library is also a Selective Depository Library for State of Wisconsin documents, which means that we receive a portion of the thousands of documents published by Wisconsin state agencies. Both of our Depository Collections support the university’s curriculum.


Gifts help expand our ability to acquire material. Gifts are accepted with the understanding that the library may dispose of them or add them at its discretion. We request that the donor sign our Deed of Gift (PDF) that we keep on file and the donor can use for their records. All gifts must be approved by the Director of Technical Services or, in some cases, the Director of the Library. We are unable to appraise gift items and we cannot accept gifts under restricted conditions.  For more information, see our full Gift Policy.

Collection Maintenance and Evaluation

As a small college library, we do not have a mission to keep all materials in perpetuity. Instead we focus on the current curriculum and research needs. Space restraints also require that we remove materials from the building in order to make space for new items that meet the needs of the current teaching and research. Therefore, weeding  the collection is ongoing; faculty will be consulted when input is needed.

This document was endorsed by the faculty and staff of the Seeley G. Mudd Library on August 27, 2013.