Collection Development Policy

i. Introduction

The library of Raven Johnston provides personal use as a research library in world literature, with availability for other interested parties. It exists as a facilitator for continued research and intellectual development for patrons in the field of comparative literature. This (very tongue-in-cheek) policy will lay out the guidelines for improvement of the collection: identifying the current strengths and weaknesses of the collection, preventing a glut of unwanted and non-useful material being added and explaining specific hierarchies of development preferences to ease the acquisitions process.

The ongoing goal of the collection is to provide a comprehensive resource for world literature appreciation and study—a resource in which comparative analysis across all the world’s literatures can be pursued with ease and which diversity of reading across cultures and time periods is promoted. The future envisioned for this collection is one of vast breadth and quality—spanning the earliest written works to contemporary masterpieces, from works originating from Ecuador to those from Mongolia– with nationally significant sub-collections of works in English translation by Japanese, Chinese and Russian authors.

ii. Community Profile

The library currently serves a single patron, Raven Johnston, but is available for circulation to any interested parties; therefor, the community it serves is the worldwide community of those interested in the research of world literature. Books could be mailed out and returned by mail for interested patrons who are not located nearby.

The library had its unassuming start in the early months of 2010, with a small smattering of genre fiction, select children’s literature and a few classics. Its current mission as a bastion of world literature did not begin until the acquisition of Kokoro by Natsume Soseki in June of the same year; initial development skewed towards Japanese literature, and the majority of the present holdings for Japanese literature were acquired throughout the year following Kokoro. More generalized development along the current guidelines ensued. Development paused from 2014 to early 2015, but resumed in mid-2015 with substantial vigor.

iii. Community Needs Assessment

to be written

iv. Collection Evaluation & Assessment

to be written

v. Collection Goals

The goal of the collection is to provide a diverse and valuable resource for the study of world literature. Emphasis is given to the areas of East Asia and Eastern Europe, and the literary production of the Anglosphere is de-emphasized.

vi. Selection Criteria

Resources to be included should stand as valuable works of literature in the context of world literary tradition or as secondary works which supplement their study. Preference is given to overlooked and generally under-read classics in English translation, especially those of East Asia and Eastern Europe. Preference is given to works of an experimental nature (Modernist, Post-Modernist, Dada, Surrealism, etc.). Works acquired for the collection should add both breadth and quality when possible, and should seek to avoid skewing towards the Anglosphere. Preference is given to publishers with an established presence in the collection.

For anthologies, there are three guiding principles: the anthology must predominately use full works, not excerpts; the anthology should cover a theme, area or era that is not already substantially covered by another anthology (exception given to Japanese literature anthologies); and preference should be given towards anthologies that cover an area underrepresented in the non-anthology section of the collection.

vii. Acquisitions

Three websites are most commonly used for locating specific books in used condition: Thriftbooks.com, Amazon.com and Abebooks.com. Thrift Books offers frequent discounts and rewards and is best for large purchases of easy-to-find and/or popular works missing from the collection (cautionary note: Penguin Classics should not be ordered from this retailer, as their inventory sticker mars the covers badly). Amazon.com has the widest selection and can be used for a variety of acquisitions. Abe Books is best used for out-of-print and fine press editions, as works are searchable by condition and publisher.

When setting out with no specific acquisition in mind, the nearby used bookstores of Half Price Books and Paperbacks Plus offer a constantly changing selection to pick from—the former is best used for new books, the latter for used books.

For acquisitions that must be bought new, preference is given to purchasing directly from the publisher. If the cost (especially in terms of shipping cost) is too expensive through this method, Amazon.com is a suitable substitute. For foreign-language books, or those printed by overseas presses, BookDepository.com may offer a lower price than Amazon.

Certain publishers prominent in the collection also offer subscriptions, which can be availed of in the future. The following information is current as of January 2016.

Publisher Cost Duration # of Books
& Other Stories ~$80 annually 6
Archipelago Books $150 annually 10 (+ one free)
Melville House – Art of the Novella $13 monthly 2
New York Review Books Classics $150 annually 12 (+ one free)
Open Letter Books $100 annually 10
Pushkin Press ~$135 annually 12 (+25% discount)
Stone Bridge Press – Japanese Lit. $85 bi-annually 6
One Story $21 Annually 12

Additionally, consideration is to be given to initiating literary magazine subscriptions. Some that are of interest to the collection follow, with subscription prices:

Periodical Cost Duration # of Issues
The Paris Review $90 three years 12
The New Yorker $12 three months 12
McSweeney’s $175 three years 12
New England Review $50 two years 8

viii. Maintenance

Weeding is to occur whenever an overflow of unwanted material is noticed. Material for weeding is decided on a basis of three factors: deteriorating condition of the book, simultaneous presence in the collection of a better edition of the same work (in newer/more esteemed translation, from a publisher with more presence in the collection, in a more durable format, etc.) and prolonged disuse without plans for future use.

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