Collections Librarian : Brooke Henderson (x3258)

The collection development policy for Women's & Gender Studies guides the development and management of the Women's & Gender Studies collection. This policy is for the use of the selector for this collection. The policy will be updated as needed. Faculty and students are encouraged to provide recommendations for library materials.

General purpose of the collection

The Women's & Gender Studies collection is primarily intended to support the undergraduate curriculum for the major in Women's & Gender Studies, as well as student research in the social sciences and humanities. The Library's collection serves as both a reference and basic research resource for students. Although the College has only offered this major since 1982, the College Library has historically collected materials on women, family, and social and political issues concerning women. The broader Library collection is therefore rich in texts dating back to the College's founding, and which are of central interest to Women's & Gender Studies. The existing collection is very strong in works on feminism, with other strengths in works on the family, child development, as well as sexuality. The major is inherently interdisciplinary in nature, and so the collection tends to include books in the humanities, and sciences, in addition to the social sciences. Current collecting priorities include: Latin American, South Asian, and Asian American women; identity in popular culture; women in the media; the American health care system; family policy and the state.

LC # areas - Subject Headings/Areas
HQ1-2044 - The Family. Marriage. Women
HQ12-449 - Sexual life
HQ503-1064 - The family. Marriage. Home
HQ1075-1075.5 - Sex roles
HQ1088-1090.7 - Men
HQ1101-1115 - Women--Periodicals & Reference
HQ1121-1154 - Women--History
HQ1155-1159 - Feminist Theory
HQ1161-1164 - Minority Women
HQ1185-11397 - Women's studies--all topics
HQ1410-1457 - Women--North America
HQ1460-1582 - Women--Latin America
HQ1587-1710 - Women--Europe
HQ1726-1784 - Women--Asia
HQ1822-1867 - Women--Oceania
HQ1870-2044 - Women--Miscell., Women's organizations

    Types of materials

    Materials are bought in all formats (paper, electronic, DVD). Other publication types, such as dissertations, congresses, and conference proceedings are very selectively acquired based on subject overlap with current curricular offerings; they must also be of a level appropriate to advanced undergraduate scholarship. Materials supporting specific coursework such as audio-visual materials, databases, and textbooks are evaluated with faculty consultation, and purchased as needed. The Library supports electronic access to numerous Women's & Gender Studies periodicals and historical texts.

    Readership level

    Material is bought at all levels, with emphasis on upper undergraduate and early graduate levels for the general collection.

    Languages collected

    The primary language of the collection is English. Social Science works in Spanish published in Latin America are acquired through an approval plan. On rare occasions, works in other foreign languages may be purchased after consultation with faculty, although this is not standard collecting practice.

    Geographical areas covered 

    (intellectual content or publication source)
    Acquired materials are primarily published in and purchased from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and sometimes India. Occasionally works in English are purchased from other parts of the world as well. Intellectual content tends to focus on women in the many cultures of the United States. Currently there is interest in collecting on women in South Asia and Southeast Asia. The Selector collaborates with other selectors to actively acquire works on women in Muslim countries, Latin America, Africa, and Europe.

    Chronological periods covered

    (intellectual content)
    Intellectual content of the collection is strongest in late twentieth century works. Current collecting is primarily focused on 21st century works and studies but may include studies of an historical nature on the industrial period forward. The History Selector is most likely to acquire historical studies on women.

    Chronological period covered

    (publication dates)
    Current materials are the focus of almost all purchasing, but a strong retrospective collection is maintained particularly as it supports current course offerings and student research. Reproductions of historical documents as primary source material are acquired selectively.


    Reference material for Women's & Gender Studies is purchased by the Reference Librarian for Research and Instruction and follows the general subject parameters of the Women's & Gender Studies collections policy. The scope includes, but is not limited to, the following types of material: a variety of specialized encyclopedias, electronic search aids and directories, biographical sources, and quantitative data which support curricular offerings. The Science Library has a wide selection of reference tools on child and cognitive development.

    Related subjects and interdisciplinary relationships

    Because this is a women's college where women's issues are paramount in every discipline taught, the Women's & Gender Studies selector does not necessarily purchase all materials in the main Women's & Gender Studies collection. Following are a few useful distinctions which may assist in the delineation of collecting responsibilities shared by a variety of collection managers.

    Political Science: The Women's & Gender Studies selector primarily purchases materials which focus on the impact of a political system on women and specific policies in various countries on the status and lives of women and families.

    History: The Women's & Gender Studies selector primarily purchases materials concerned with women in the 19th, 20th and 21st century, or on the history of a particular aspect of women's lives (marriage, mothering, political participation, sexuality...). The History and Women's & Gender Studies selectors may collaborate on the purchase of studies which focus on women up to and including the 19th century. The History selector may purchase works on feminist historiography and women historians, and women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods.

    Classics/Archeology: The Women's & Gender Studies selector primarily purchases materials concerned with women in the 19th, 20th and 21st century. The Classics selector may purchase historical documents and discourses on women or feminist thought in ancient times. The Archaeology selector may purchase materials on feminist archaeology.

    Anthropology: The Anthropology selector purchases scholarly research on the cultures, labor, and roles of women in pre-historic societies, and among indigenous peoples, and the transition from matriarchy to patriarchy.

    English: The English selector may purchase feminist and literary criticism, women authors, and the writing of autobiography. In collaboration with the Women's & Gender Studies selector, they may both purchase studies which make use of literature, drama, poetry, to illustrate women's roles, identity formation, or socialization practices in a society or historical period.

    Religion: The Religion selector purchases materials on the role of women in the church including the ordination of women.

    Art: The Art selector may be consulted on the purchase of images for use in Women's & Gender Studies classes, and in selecting materials on the graphic depictions of women in art and the media.

    Sociology: The Women's & Gender Studies selector may purchase materials on feminist research methodologies, feminist theory, and sociological studies which support the Women's & Gender Studies curriculum but not necessarily the Sociology curriculum.

    Biology and Chemistry : The Women's & Gender Studies selector very selectively acquires books which support courses on women's health, women and drugs, women's physiology, reproduction, and health policy. These books may be shelved in the Science Library.

    Psychology and Cognitive Science : The Women's & Gender Studies selector may purchase studies concerned with the psychological, developmental, and social psychological processes involved in, for example, child rearing, mothering, and growing up female in particular racial or ethnic groups. The Psychology and Cognitive Science selectors may be consulted, and some of these materials may be shelved in the Science Library.

    Physical Education: The selector for Physical Education selects material on women's participation and performance in sports, athletics and dance and selectively adds titles on coaching women in these endeavors. The retrospective collections in physical education offer a glimpse of societal views in the US on women's health and hygiene training at the turn of the 20th century.