Library Collection Development Policy (revised 2017)

Kresge Law Library

Open All | Close All


    1.1 Mission

    Mission Statement (2010)

    The Kresge Law Library supports foundational research and provides direction for more in-depth research on legal issues of interest to our faculty and students by maintaining comprehensive core collections in a variety of formats on each area of law covered by our curriculum or that is the subject of faculty research. The library provides access to high-quality library services designed to meet the curriculum, research, professional, intellectual, creative, and personal needs of the Detroit Mercy community, and provides Detroit lawyers and residents with access to basic legal information.


    1.2 Population Served

    The University of Detroit Mercy Law Library (library) primarily serves the faculty and students of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.  The library tries to meet the needs of all other patrons wishing to use its collections provided that the cost and/or time of such service is not excessive.  As a selective federal depository library, we also provide full assistance to anyone using our collection of federal government publications and the tools needed to access them.

General Policy

Open All | Close All


    General Policy

    The library will generally follow a policy of balanced collection development designed to meet the following needs, in order of priority:

    1. support the law school curriculum;
    2. support law school faculty and law student research;
    3. support University of Detroit Mercy non-law school faculty and non-law student research;  
    4. support community attorney research needs;  
    5. assist citizens researching legal problems.

    To support the Canadian & American Dual Degree Program with the University of Windsor School of Law, and the law school’s global requirement, the library puts special emphasis on the following:

    1. Michigan law;
    2. International law;
    3. Canadian law.

    To support our religious identity, the library puts special emphasis on the following:

    1. Jesuit and Sisters of Mercy tradition;   
    2. other religious perspectives on law.

    For additional considerations relating to United States Government publications, see section 7.

    The library's goal is to develop and maintain a strong collection in the areas of federal, Michigan, and general American law. The needs of our faculty and students and the satisfaction of ABA and AALS requirements guide our collection development goal. This goal can be achieved by limiting the resources devoted to legal works from states other than Michigan and countries other than the United States, unless needed to support the curriculum.   


    2.1 Responsibility

    The development of the library’s resources is the responsibility of the Director, Kresge Law Library (the director) and the reference staff, with input from the law school’s Law Library Committee, the Dean of the Law School and the faculty. When developing specific subject areas of the collection, the library will collaborate with faculty members who specialize in those areas. The library will do the same as a means of identifying materials that are no longer relevant or unnecessarily duplicative. Library staff may seek guidance from our Conspectus document when making non-requested selection decisions.  

    Standing orders are carefully scrutinized because of their expense, and consortium pricing is used if possible. The library is a member of NELLCO, LIPA and MCLS, and each of these consortiums provides databases, services, and materials at a lower negotiated price than what is possible for an individual library to realize.  


    2.2 Gifts

    The collection development policy guidelines apply only to works purchased by the library. Gifts of legal works should be accepted in all areas provided the materials are not redundant and shelf space is not limited. The disposition of gifts is at the discretion of the director.


    2.3 Faculty Requests

    Faculty requests are an important collection development tool. Such requests will often be granted, and are assessed on an individual basis.


    2.4 Physical Format

    The library provides access to several thousand e-books and thousands of digital titles from within legal databases, in addition to a wide range of print materials. We value the format choice of the requesting faculty member. Faculty format preference should be honored unless the cost is substantially higher than for another format.  

    Regarding librarian-generated (discretionary) purchases or subscriptions, the library prefers to provide access to new serial titles through electronic databases and monographs via the print format. Microforms will only be purchased for necessary titles not available in another format or that are most easily stored in the microform format (e.g., newspapers).    


    2.5 Duplication and Retention

    Multiple print copies of monographs should not be acquired unless extensive use is likely and the work is not available in an electronic version.


    2.6 Cancellations

    Subscriptions will periodically need to be canceled. Factors weighing against cancellation include:

    1. the title was purchased and/or is maintained for a current faculty member;
    2. the title directly supports the curriculum;
    3. the title is routed to a faculty member;  
    4. the title is utilized by students as part of a required course assignment;
    5. the title is used to train students.

    Factors weighing for cancellation include:

    1. the title is no longer (or seldom) used;
    2. the title is excessively costly;
    3. the title is available in a substantially less-costly format;
    4. another acceptable less-costly title is available for subscription or purchase;
    5. the title is available in a(another) database currently being subscribed to;
    6. the title is one of multiple titles subscribed to concerning the same subject matter;
    7. whether there are budgetary issues to consider.

    2.7 Electronic Databases and Other Digital Media

    The library provides access to electronic databases and other digital resources to support research by faculty and students. These databases strengthen our collection of legal materials, and provide access to materials not found in the library. The library determines whether special consortium database subscription discounts apply before subscribing to databases. The library subscribes to the NELLCO and MCLS consortiums, which provide us with substantial database subscription savings.  

    In order to facilitate and teach legal research, the library will subscribe to databases that are standard in the legal industry, even if such resources duplicate that which is already available.  Otherwise, duplication should be avoided, unless necessary in order to provide the most current information or substantially better access to information.   

    Databases covering non-legal materials should provide support for law school faculty research that overlaps into other disciplines. The library should also provide easy access to the non-legal databases available through the university library.   


    2.8 Special Relation with Law School Clinics

    The library works with the administrative director of our several law clinics to ensure that students and clinical faculty members are best equipped to provide required services to their clients.  


    2.9 Special Collections (Reserve Collection, Reference Collection, Archives)

    2.9.1     Reserve Collection
    The reserve collection, located behind the circulation desk, contains the most popular federal and Michigan treatises/practice guides, study aids, and a second copy of West’s Michigan Digest and Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated. A subpart of this collection, faculty reserves, houses all materials reserved by faculty members for their courses.  

    2.9.2     Reference Collection
    The reference collection, located behind the reference desk, houses current Michigan and federal primary law, as well as major treatises or legal encyclopedias not housed in the reserve collection. This collection also contains a small number of legal and vernacular dictionaries and thesauri.  

    2.9.3     Archives
    The library strives to collect law school-related publications and brochures commemorating officially sponsored school events, to include graduation and bulletin materials. A small archives collection is housed on the ground floor of the library and may be accessed by University of Detroit Mercy faculty, staff and students under the supervision of appropriate library staff.  Ask at the circulation desk for assistance.

Evaluation Factors for Potential Purchases

Open All | Close All


    3.1 General Evaluation Factors

    A number of factors are used to determine what materials to purchase. The factors that are most important at any given time may vary. These factors are (in no priority order) the importance of the subject matter to the curriculum or writing interests of our faculty, prominence of the author or publisher, space availability, cost, origin of the request (faculty and law student requests receive highest consideration), ease of upkeep, scarcity of available published materials on the subject, format, and paucity or abundance of materials on the subject in our collection.       


    3.2 General Selection Criteria by Type of Material

    The decision whether to collect primary law, secondary materials, and finding aids depends on faculty teaching, faculty writing interests, and otherwise on the curriculum. All librarians involved with selection decisions keep up to date on current hot topics and new developments in the field of law. Librarians also actively monitor changes to the curriculum, and to faculty and student interests.  

Selection Criteria by Type or Form: United States Primary Sources

Open All | Close All


    4.1 Court Decisions

    Court decisions are available online on free websites and in several databases that the library subscribes to. As a result, the library only collects the official United States Supreme Court Reports (United States Reports) and Michigan case law in the print format.  


    4.2 Session Laws

    The University of Detroit Mercy community may access current and historical United States federal and state session laws via HeinOnline. The library provides onsite access to current and all historical versions of United States federal and Michigan session laws in print.   


    4.3 Legislative Codes

    We collect all unofficial annotated editions of the United States Code, as well as one print copy of the code for each state. We have superseded code sets of the United States Code and all versions of Michigan Compiled Laws onsite. Current and historic United States Code editions are accessible to the University of Detroit Mercy community via HeinOnline. We provide access to the municipal code for Detroit in digital format.

    4.4 Administrative Codes

    The library provides a link to the Michigan Administrative Code, which is no longer published in print. The administrative code is also accessible via a catalog search. The library provides access to current and historical editions of the federal administrative code (C.F.R.), both onsite and via HeinOnline. Only the University of Detroit Mercy community may access the HeinOnline database.


    4.5 Administrative Decisions

    We collect all Michigan administrative decisions, if published. Far more decisions are available via HeinOnline, which is only accessible to the University of Detroit Mercy community.


    4.6 Attorney General Opinions

    The University of Detroit Mercy community may access United States and state attorney general opinions via HeinOnline.


    4.7 Treaties & International Agreements

    The University of Detroit Mercy community may access treaties and international agreements via HeinOnline.


    4.8 Constitutions

    The University of Detroit Mercy community may access national constitutions via HeinOnline.

Selection Criteria by Type or Form: United States Secondary Sources

Open All | Close All


    5.1 Legal Treatises, Practice Aids and Formbooks

    The library acquires federal and multi-jurisdictional treatises published by reputable publishers. We acquire all Michigan legal treatises.  

    The library avoids buying practice aids unless they specifically concern Michigan law or unless they support our curriculum. The library should generally acquire practice aids concerning trial advocacy, legal research, legal writing, books containing specialized forms not found in the general form books, and books about subject areas not covered elsewhere in the collection.   

    We acquire all Michigan formbooks and all multi-jurisdictional and federal formbooks of general coverage published by reputable publishers. We avoid the acquisition of formbooks designed  for use in specific states other than Michigan, unless needed to support the curriculum.  Where practical, we acquire the electronic version.


    5.2 Study Aids

    The library purchases multiple copies of hornbooks, nutshells and other popular study aids according to demand and source quality.


    5.3 Outlines

    The library does not acquire commercial outlines.


    5.4 Casebooks

    Casebooks are not normally purchased because of their high cost, large numbers, and frequent new additions. However, casebooks are frequently donated and added to the collection.


    5.5 Periodicals

    The library prefers to subscribe to many legal periodicals in the digital format, and in that regard relies on HeinOnline (which is available only to members of the University of Detroit Mercy community), and Westlaw and Lexis (which are available only to members of the law school community). The library acquires law reviews published in Michigan and other selected law reviews in print.

    Legal newspapers and magazines should be acquired if they are national in scope or related to Michigan.  Preference is for an electronic subscription, but the library retains a handful of print newspapers and magazines such as Michigan Lawyers Weekly, American Lawyer, Detroit Legal News, and the National Law Journal. Print versions are kept only for three months.  

    Subscriptions to newsletters should be avoided unless specifically requested by a faculty member, if they cover a topic in which little other materials exist, or if the library is attempting to build that part of the collection to the highest collection development level.   


    5.6 Digests

    The library currently acquires Federal Practice Digest, West’s Michigan Digest and Callaghan’s Michigan Digest in the print format. Digests are available to the law school community via the Lexis and Westlaw databases.


    5.7 State Legal Encyclopedias

    We acquire state legal encyclopedias in the print format only for Michigan. The law school community has access to all legal encyclopedias via Lexis and Westlaw.


    5.8 Restatements, Uniform and Model Codes

    We acquire all restatements and uniform and model codes in tentative, final, and official drafts. The restatements are also available through HeinOnline’s American Law Institute Library, which is accessible only by members of the University of Detroit Mercy community.


    5.9 Reference Aids (Directories, Dictionaries, Bibliographic Aids, Indexes)

    5.9.1  Directories
    We acquire only those relevant directories that are not available online.    

    5.9.2  Dictionaries  
    We acquire major legal dictionaries in English and a few Spanish-English dictionaries.    

    5.9.3  Bibliographic Aids
    The library acquires major Michigan, multistate and federal law research guides.  We acquire all guides to legal abbreviations and citation formats.    

    5.9.4  Indexes  
    We acquire Anglo-American legal indexes necessary for efficient use of the collection.

Foreign Jurisdictions & International Organizations

Open All | Close All


    6.1 Canada

    The University of Windsor School of Law Library provides students in the Canadian & American Dual Degree Program with ample Canadian resources. We also acquire publications to assist our faculty and students in preparing for courses and modules offered in the dual degree program.  We acquire major Canadian treatises and general monographs if they concern national or federal law or if they relate to the curriculum. We also acquire major study aids. The Revised Statutes of Canada and the Canadian Supreme Court Reports are available only to the University of Detroit Mercy community through HeinOnline.


    6.2 Europe

    The library acquires few works on continental European law. Works in English on European law are purchased if they are introductory or deal with some major aspect of European law, or if they relate to EU or French law covered by the French Scholar program.


    6.3 The United Nations

    U.N. documents are available on the free U.N. website, or to members of the University of Detroit Mercy community via HeinOnline.


    6.4 Canon Law & Laws of Major World Religions

    We collect works concerning major world religions, with a focus on Catholic and Jesuit materials. We attempt to collect the current Code of Canon Law in English. Members of the University of Detroit Mercy community may also access HeinOnline’s Religion and the Law Library.    

United States Government Publications

Open All | Close All


    7.1 Introduction

    The library is a selective depository for United States government publications. The Depository Collection is maintained in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Federal Depository Law Library Program (FDLP) and requirements of Title 44, Chapter 19 of the United States Code.


    7.2 General Policy

    Government documents are selected in support of the needs of the curriculum, faculty, and students of the school of law. Secondary consideration is given to the needs of the local legal community, and the general public within the 13th Congressional District of Michigan.

    The majority of government publications are obtained through the FDLP. The library will acquire documents that are not offered through the depository program.  


    7.3 Informational Formats

    The majority of our government documents selections are electronic, pursuant to the FDLP Electronic Transition Plan. All electronic formatted government documents are provided with complete and accurate bibliographic links for access through our online catalog, Murphy. International and Michigan electronic government publications are selectively added to the online catalog by our government documents department.


    7.4 Selection Guidelines

    Documents are selected from the FDLP Essential Titles list for inclusion in the collection. The types of sources selected are reports of decisions in United States courts, agency decisions and selective regulations, publications from the Justice Department, selective State Department and agency publications, and congressional reports and documents.  

    Documents and databases of International Organizations and Michigan state government publications are selectively added to the collection by our government documents department.