The Collections at Grinnell College Libraries
Purpose and Scope
The Grinnell College Libraries' primary goal is to support the research and study needs of Grinnell College students working within the liberal arts curriculum offered by Grinnell College. According to its stated mission, the libraries also seek to support the basic research needs of the faculty. This means providing a collection that is representative of subject areas in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, education (from a theoretical and practical point of view), and the fine arts. Because our students engage in high-level research, we collect material of a more specialized nature than many undergraduate colleges. While currency is important, we also consider it essential to maintain works that represent the scholarship of the past. Thus, our collections serve a variety of purposes: providing a picture of the past as well as the present. The growing focus on materials that represent popular culture and trends means that almost nothing is out of scope for a research oriented collection. Our collections contain material in many formats and languages.
Foreign Language Material
We actively collect books published in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian. Our focus is literature, but we also select representative secondary materials in the original language. We have a growing collection of foreign language videos and dvds, both for entertainment and curricular purposes. We strive to have a wide-ranging collection of sound recordings representative of cultures and genre from around the globe and of historical and current musical practices and trends. Most of these and an extensive range of American domestic recordings are housed in the Burling Media Room.
Diversity of Content and Genre
The libraries seek to have a collection that represents the diversity of opinions and backgrounds present in the State of Iowa, the United States, and the world. We have been aggressive in building a collection that is representative of authors from all U.S. backgrounds, and diverse points of view. We have highlighted certain collections: for instance, the Black Library and the Latino Collection at the encouragement of our student body, and the East Asian Collection, to bring a very specialized segment of the collection into one place. We collect belles lettres written in English and published in translation from around the world with a view to its long term place in the collection, and also collect more popular genres such as mysteries, science fiction, and detective novels for our small browsing collection of current fiction, poetry and timely current nonfiction (the Smith Memorial Collection).
Places on Campus
The Grinnell College Libraries are located in three locations: Burling Library, the Curriculum Library in Steiner, and the Kistle Science Library in the Noyce Science Center.
A Collection for the Present and the Future
The Grinnell College Libraries are building their collection with the future as well as the present generation of users in mind. In building both our print and electronic holdings, we make decisions that will guaranty a strong collection when the college celebrates its bicentennial and tricentennial. We add between 8,000 to 10,000 volumes a year and subscribe to over 2,000 periodicals and journals. We welcome recommendations from across the campus community.