Connecticut State Library with state seal

Collection Development Policy

Resources, Formats & Collections

The following sections focus on resources, formats and collections of special concern.

Electronic Information
Electronic resources (databases, CD-ROM and other formats) are increasingly acquired to meet the guidelines of the Collection Development Policy. Rapid changes in electronic information resources require continual reassessment of this Policy and the Library's related service policies. The most frequently used formats at the State Library, online and CD-ROM, each present distinct collection development issues.

Public access CD-ROM sources are selected to support the reference functions in the areas of law, government information, genealogy, and general reference.

Online Sources
Online information sources are readily available and increasingly incorporated into the resources at the State Library. This availability broadens the Library's focus from acquisitions and archival functions to include an expanding emphasis on immediate electronic retrieval of information and/or document delivery. The Library may elect to rely on purchasing online time in response to a specific patron request, rather than collect traditional library materials. Decisions to replace print, microform or CD-ROM formats with an online source raise issues of public access, costs, preservation, and service which must be considered. These issues are equally important when the electronic product is an entirely new source. As the Connecticut State Library prepares for the emergence of a publishing industry in which electronic format frequently becomes the only available medium, emphasis will be placed on acquiring databases offering full-text searching.

The Connecticut State Library subscribes to serial and loose-leaf services to provide timely, up-to-date resources. Available indexing of articles via printed indexes, CD-ROM databases and/or on-line resources is considered in selection. Serials are acquired in a variety of formats: paper, microfiche, microfilm, CD-ROM, and online.

Serial: "A publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials include periodicals; newspapers; annuals (reports, yearbooks, etc.); the journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, etc. of societies; and numbered monographic series." Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd ed.

Loose-leaf Service: "A serial publication which is revised, cumulated or indexed by means of new or replacement pages inserted into a loose-leaf binder, and used where latest revisions of information are important, as with legal and scientific material." ALA Glossary of Library & Information Science

The Connecticut State Library participates in the Connecticut Union List of Serials (CULS) and the New England Union List of Serials (NEULS). These databases allow area libraries to share serials holdings information. This information may be utilized in making retention and purchasing decisions.

Microforms are collected when they are the most appropriate format. New titles may be acquired in microform. Materials of historical significance such as newspapers, journals, primary source material, and legislative documents may be transferred to microform or acquired in microform to insure their preservation. Many publications which the Library receives from the Government Printing Office are issued only in microfiche and become part of the government publications collection.

Government Information And Reference Collections
The focus of the government information and reference collections is federal documents, Connecticut state documents, and municipal documents. The library acquires the essential tools to access these document collections.

Emphasis on public policy, social issues, economics, business, labor, education, and history guides the selection of additional resources. News sources covering events in the state, the nation, and the world are made available as extensively as possible. General encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, directories, indexes, handbooks, and annuals are collected at a basic level in the most practical format. Minimal selections are made in the sciences, arts, and humanities.

Electronic resources function as the core of the basic government documents and general reference collections. They provide connectivity to all subject fields to meet the needs of state government, libraries, and Connecticut's citizens.

Federal Publications Collection
The Connecticut State Library is a regional depository for United States government publications. The collection is based on requirements set by Title 44 of the United States Code, and Instructions to Depository Libraries.

The government publications collection contains over one and a half million items in print, microform and electronic formats, to which 100,000 new items are added each year. The depository collection from the 1880's to the present is extensive, with major sources dating back to the Continental Congress, and major holdings of Congressional hearings since the 1930's.

The State Library will collect and retain a comprehensive collection of U.S. government publications and related works, including:

An agreement for selective housing exists with the University of Connecticut Map Library, which holds the Regional collection of United States Geological Survey and Defense Mapping Agency maps for the Connecticut State Library.

Connecticut State Documents Collection
The State Library has served as a repository for Connecticut state documents since its founding in 1854. The Library opened with an extensive collection of Connecticut law materials. Concerted efforts were made to establish a full collection of Connecticut documents beginning about 1880. The acquisition of Connecticut state agency publications for the Connecticut State Library and for a network of depository libraries was mandated by Public Act 77-561. Exclusive of law materials, there are currently 80,000 pieces in the collection.

All Connecticut state publications which contain information about, or are produced by, state government, or which contribute to a descriptive history of the issuing agency are collected under Connecticut General Statutes, Sections 11-9b through 11-9d. In addition, copies of selected titles are obtained for distribution to the law library network of the Connecticut Judicial Department pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes, Section 11-19e. The State Library will obtain sufficient copies of state documents to meet these statutory obligations.

  1. 'State Publications' means all publications printed or published by or under direction of the state or any officer thereof, or any other agency supported wholly or in part by state funds;
  2. 'printed' means all forms of printing and duplicating, regardless of purpose, with the exception of correspondence and interoffice memoranda;
  3. 'State Agency' means every state office, officer, department, division, bureau, board, and commission, permanent or temporary in nature, whether legislative, executive or judicial, and any subdivisions of each, including state-supported institutions of higher education; "

Connecticut General Statutes, Section 11-9b(a) through 11-9b(c).

Two copies of all Connecticut state publications are retained in the permanent collection of the State Library. Multiple copies of selected titles may be included in the permanent collection upon the recommendation of the State Documents Librarian.

Connecticut Municipal Documents Collection
The collection of approximately 30,000 municipal and town documents is a vital resource for research about and information on local government. The collection is used by government officials, the legal community, and the general public. The Connecticut State Library actively collects municipal and town documents pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes, Sections 7-148a and 7-191h. Towns and municipalities are required to deposit at the Connecticut State Library copies of charters and charter amendments, codes, ordinances, and special actions. Included in these documents are those of a legal nature such as building code standards and zoning regulations, which sometimes are included in municipal codes.

Other municipal documents in the Connecticut State Library collection include town annual reports, budgets, school reports, financial reports, and special studies. Annual reports provide references that support local historical research. Initially, these reports were collected as a reflection of the vision for the State Library to provide information on the "science of government". This vision eventually became embodied in a 1913 Public Act (Chapter 88) requiring towns to send copies of official publications to the State Library.

History And Genealogy Collections
The history and genealogy collections serve as a major resource in support of the Library's mission "to preserve and make accessible the records of Connecticut's history and heritage". The major collecting emphasis is on published materials concerned with the history of Connecticut, its institutions and its people, from its earliest exploration to the present time.

Materials for the study of Connecticut state and local history are acquired in a variety of formats, including but not limited to genealogical studies of Connecticut families; histories of counties and towns; published and microfilmed vital records; and federal population census schedules for Connecticut. These materials are also collected to complement and supplement the State Library's archival collections.

Historical and genealogical materials for other jurisdictions focus primarily on those parts of the New England states, of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Canada from and to which Connecticut people migrated prior to the Civil War. Secondary focus is on materials on those of the 13 original colonies not included above. Other states may be represented in a highly selective manner.

The most important new studies on the history of the United States are acquired. Materials on the history of the nation's foreign relations, including foreign wars, are purchased only if they include substantial information on Connecticut's role in that history.

Although noteworthy general histories of foreign countries are retained, they are not acquired on a current basis unless they clearly relate to Connecticut history, offer information that aids genealogical or historical research (19th and early 20th century atlases, for example), or complement a major collection of the State Library.

Biographies of prominent United States citizens, especially those from Connecticut, and distinguished citizens of other countries, with an emphasis on those whose lives related to Connecticut's history, are collected.

Cartographic Collections
A collection of individual maps and atlases, worldwide in scope and dating from the 17th century to the present, complements the other historical and genealogical resources in the Library's collections. Political, road/street, thematic, and topographic maps are represented.

Maps and atlases of Connecticut, its counties, regions, and local political units are collected at the comprehensive level. The archival collections include many manuscript maps which relate to Connecticut. Additional Connecticut maps are acquired by the Library's depository programs for Connecticut state and United States government publications.

Cartographic materials are acquired at the support level for Massachusetts, southern Maine, southern New Hampshire and southern Vermont. Represented at the basic level are cartographic materials relating to the history and politics of other areas to and from which Connecticut people migrated, including other parts of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire; Rhode Island; New York (especially the eastern portion); northeastern Pennsylvania; northeastern Ohio; Canada, and Europe.

The Library acquires maps and atlases documenting America's participation in wars from the colonial period to the present at the basic level. Maps and atlases representing the southern states, the midwest, and those states lying west of the Mississippi River are no longer collected.

Decisions about geographical areas not presently collected may be revised as the needs of Connecticut citizens change.

Law And Legislative Collections
As the principal law library of the state (Connecticut General Statutes, Section 11-1a(c)), the State Library maintains an extensive collection of United States and Connecticut law for the use of the courts and citizens of the state. Legal materials are acquired to support the research needs of the Library's primary clientele - employees of the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government. Primary source materials (statutes, legislation, judicial decisions, administrative regulations and adjudications, records and briefs) are given priority, as are the finding tools (digests, citators, indexes) necessary for access to such materials. In secondary sources (treatises, reporters, periodicals, encyclopedias), Connecticut and federal law are emphasized, with an effort to collect comprehensively in Connecticut law.

The Library maintains the current and historical statutes and session laws of the American states, as well as the federal codes and U.S. public laws. The law collection is greatly enhanced by the Library's status as the state's regional depository for GPO documents, with many official legal and congressional publications supplied by the federal government. Material acquired generally excludes laws of foreign jurisdictions, and generally excludes international and transnational law except for the major collections of international treaties and their finding tools.

An attempt is made to acquire the officially published version of state case law, as well as regional and topical reporters, to support the needs of the Connecticut Supreme Court. Historical and judicial considerations also support the acquisition and maintenance of appellate case law and statutes for the United Kingdom.

Legislative reference is supported by the acquisition and maintenance of materials relating to federal, state, and local government public policy issues, with an emphasis on issues of interest to the Connecticut General Assembly. Current official Connecticut legislative documents, including all bills, acts, committee hearings, and Senate and House Proceedings are acquired and preserved.

Newspaper Collection
The Connecticut State Library owns and maintains the largest collection of Connecticut newspapers in the United States, consisting of approximately 2,050 titles spanning almost 250 years. Currently, the Library collects every daily newspaper published in Connecticut and the majority of its weekly papers, including town papers, business newspapers, and special interest publications.

The active collection of 20,000 microfilm reels demonstrates the Library's commitment to preserve this vital historical record, and is intended as a comprehensive, permanent depository of Connecticut town newspapers. Additionally, 600 titles are preserved in boxed, bound, or encapsulated formats. The Connecticut State Library also collects and retains several major national publications to supplement research needs of its clientele. Indexes to the newspaper collection are acquired in the most appropriate format.

Secured Collections
Certain collections are located in limited access secure areas. These collections require special care and handling because of their significance in the history of books and printing, their unique nature, their fragility, or a combination of these factors. Examples are early Connecticut imprints in the Charles T. Wells Collection, 19th century Connecticut manufacturers' catalogs, and early unbound issues of Connecticut newspapers in fragile condition. There is no ongoing program for acquiring publications to add to these collections, except that items are transferred from other physical locations within the State Library.

Significant collections include:

Other collections located in secured areas are:

Raymond E. Baldwin Museum Of Connecticut History Library Collection
The Museum collection of library materials directly supports its artifact collections. Representative titles in the following areas are collected and maintained: firearms, numismatics, hand and machine tools, clocks, architecture, militaria, mass produced consumer goods, and material culture. Emphasis is on areas pertaining to Connecticut industry and culture.

Specialized collections include Connecticut manufacturers' catalogs, and a comprehensive collection of materials relating to Colt Manufacturing Co.

The Museum also acquires significant titles pertaining to museum administration, collection management, exhibitions, and conservation. Material relating to the Museum collections is also housed in the general stacks and the Secured Collections.