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    Building African/Islamic Collections
    by Daille Pettit, Acquisitions/Collections Librarian

    In recent years, the departmental liaison librarians at James Madison University have been documenting their liaison activities in annual reports as a way of bringing together information and issues across departments and disciplines.  One of the sections on the report form asks librarians to write a narrative about collection issues.

    In examining the 2003 reports (submitted at the end of the 2002-2003 fiscal year), a common theme ran through many of them:  that Carrier Library’s collections supporting African and Islamic studies was incomplete and the library needed to add materials in many different areas relating to that broad topic.  As a result, the Library’s Collection Development Committee committed a fund of $8,000 for interdisciplinary purchases in African/Islamic studies.  As the Acquisitions/Collections Librarian, I was given the task of forming a committee and overseeing the project.

    Liaisons representing art, history, literature, political science, religion, and sociology met to discuss the project and the parameters of selection.  Funds were allocated for each of these disciplines.  The group decided, for example, that books on African Americans in the U.S. would not be included, but that books of African writers in Africa would be.  We also consulted the liaison who oversees the juvenile book collection for her suggestions on juvenile books.

    The librarians involved in the project quickly located $8,000 worth of titles for purchase, so an additional $4,000 from general collection development funds were also used.  About 200 titles, including both books and videos, were ordered.

    See the bibliography for items on African/Islamic Studies that have been already been added to our collection.  A few hard-to-find books that we hope to locate in the future are not yet included on this list.

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