Materials Purchasing


Each department or program at Bluffton University is allocated a portion of the materials budget for books and other formats as administered by the library director. Faculty are encouraged to recommend items for the library collections and advised to consult the department or program chair for information on allocation of funds and approach to selections. Recommendations can be made using the online form or by contacting the library director via email or campus mail.

The Musselman Library collections support the undergraduate, graduate, and continuing and professional education programs at Bluffton. Collection decisions are made within the context of resource sharing through our membership in the OPAL (Ohio Private Academic Libraries) and OhioLINK consortia.

Frequently Asked Questions from our faculty:
1. How do faculty go about making recommendations for the library collections?
2. Who can use the online recommendation form?
3. How will we know what our department/program has for library purchases?
4. Are we on our own, or does someone in the library partner with us?
5. Does the library offer any review sources?


6. What information is required when recommending something for purchase?
7. What can my student assistant(s) do to help with this process?
8. What are my chances if I need something in a hurry for a class?
9. Does the library receive discounts on purchases?
10. How will I know if the item I recommend is purchased?


11. Can I receive a report showing items recommended once cataloged?
12. Is there a deadline for submitting recommendations for purchase?
13. Can I purchase something myself and then send to the library?
14. What about DVD/Video or CDs for purchase?
15. Can I recommend periodicals and/or databases?


16. Can I make recommendations not associated with my department or program?
17. Does the library purchase out-of-print items?
18. I have more questions Whom can I contact?

       

1. How do faculty go about making recommendations for the library collections?
Faculty can recommend resources for purchase by using the recommendation form online, by contacting the library director by email (johnsonmj@bluffton.edu), or by sending a catalog, flyer, or review through campus mail (Mary Jean Johnson, Library Director, Box 38).

2. Who can use the recommendation form?
The online recommendation form is for use by Bluffton University faculty. Staff, students, alumni, and others affiliated with Bluffton are invited to use the suggestion form. Each faculty member is responsible for adhering to any guidelines that the department/program may have in place for use of funds.

3. How will we know what our department/program has for library purchases?
And - how will we keep track of spending throughout the year? Early in the Fall semester, the library director contacts the department/program chair and the department/program liaison to the library to let them know the allotment for the year. Fund reports are sent monthly and/or on request to the department/program liaison.

4. Are we on our own, or does someone in the library partner with us in building the collection for our subject area or discipline?
The library director is the collections librarian and in that role makes suggestions to department/program liaisons, other faculty, or to the department/program as a whole. This can take the form of a few titles by email, a more comprehensive bibliography, or through meeting to review department/program needs and/or faculty interests. Others of the librarians also contribute to collection development and work with faculty on occasion.

5. Does the library offer any review sources?
Choice Reviews Online is an important source for reviews of academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources of interest to those in higher education. Bluffton faculty can browse monthly issues and search reviews (and print, email, or download) and create a profile so as to benefit from saving lists of reviews and receiving monthly updates. Other library databases, both general and disciplinary, also provide access to reviews.

6. What information is required when recommending something for purchase?
Whether for the form or for other means of submission, complete bibliographic information is needed along with the price and ISBN number. Amazon.com is often a  helpful source for gathering needed information.

Each recommendation should include the selector name and the fund name (i.e., Biology, English, Religion, or etc.) and any special notes in regard to purchase, including the date needed. (Note: if bibliographic information is sketchy for an item of interest, please contact johnsonmj@bluffton.edu with whatever you know about the item.)

7. What can my student assistant (s) do to help with this process?
Student assistants can check the library catalog to see if the item is already owned by the library or on order. They can also search amazon.com to find complete publication information and pricing for titles of interest.

8. What are my chances if I need something in a hurry?
Items needed within a short period of time should be designated RUSH and with the date needed. The library makes every effort to accommodate special RUSH requests. As a general rule, recommendations should be submitted at least four weeks prior to the date needed. This allows time to place/receive an order and catalog the item. Following this guideline as the usual procedure will make it easier for the library to manage occasional RUSH requests.

9. Does the library receive discounts on purchases?
The library works with vendors that offer discounted prices and also free shipping. This is something to keep in mind when considering recommendations for purchase and the impact on the department/program library fund. The library compares prices and identifies the vendor with the best discount.

10. How will I know if the item I recommended is purchased - and when it is ready for checkout?
Recommendations are acknowledged when received. Also, the recommendation form includes the option "notify when this recommended item is available for use," and the item is held at the Circulation Desk awaiting pickup. You can specify notify/hold along with any recommendations sent by email or campus mail.

11. Can I receive a report showing items recommended once cataloged?
Twice monthly, selector reports showing items cataloged during the previous two week period are sent to selectors by Kathleen Aufderhaar, technical services librarian ("Items you recommended for the library collections that were cataloged between...").

12. Is there a deadline for submitting recommendations for purchase?
The deadline for submitting recommendations for use of department/program funds is April 1. Any unencumbered funds after this date will be used at the discretion of the library director; departmental recommendations will be considered but not guaranteed.

13. Can I purchase something myself and then send to the library for reimbursement and cataloging?
Because of the procedures that we follow in the library for acquisitions and for the budget, the library needs to do the ordering/purchasing. If there is a special circumstance in regard to purchase, the faculty member can contact the library director to make arrangements.

14. What about DVD/Video or CDs? Are these purchased from the department/program library fund?
The departmental/program fund is used primarily for book resources. There is a separate fund for DVD/Video and CDs that is shared among departments/programs. There may be special circumstances that would allow use of the book fund for non-print materials.

15. Can I recommend periodicals and/or databases?
There are separate accounts in the library budget for periodicals (print and online) and databases. Recommendations from an individual faculty member or from a department/program are welcome anytime and will be considered within the constraints of the budget and collection policies.

16. Can I make recommendations not associated with my department or program?
By all means! Recommendations for materials that seem a good fit for Bluffton are welcome anytime. If purchased, usually other funds besides the department/program allotment are used. Sometimes recommendations are made with interdisciplinary interest, and shared purchases are possible.

17. Does the library purchase out-of-print items?
The library has vendors for out-of-print titles as well as those for new materials and will make every effort to locate requested items. (Note: replacements or binding for titles already in the collection usually are paid from other library funds, not taken from department/program allotments.)

18. I have more questions Whom can I contact?
Please contact Mary Jean Johnson, Library Director/Collections Librarian (johnsonmj@bluffton.edu or call x3396).

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