Selection Criteria

Given the Library’s primary goal of supporting the curriculum and Little Big Horn College, the main factor when selecting materials should be how well they do or do not support the College’s courses of study.

Once curriculum needs have been met, the Library selects materials to fulfill its obligations to the community: to provide informational and general interest materials to the Crow Community and maintain strong collections of Crow and Native American materials.

To best serve the various education levels of its college community, the Library includes materials from high school to lower-division undergraduate levels. The exception to this is the Crow and Native American collections, which may include materials at the graduate or professional level. The Library collects materials in all appropriate formats: print, microforms, audiovisual, and computer-mediated materials (see format-specific criteria for more information). The library also houses materials typical of a public library, including a children’s section, light fiction, and large print, as well as a general collection across community interest.

Selection is based on:

  1. Relevance to the college curriculum
  2. Relevance to the current subject coverage (see subject-specific criteria for more information)
  3. Anticipated demand and interest
  4. Recommendations from faculty, students, and community members
  5. Review sources on the material
  6. Appropriateness of specific media to the content
  7. Accuracy, currency, and permanence of the information
  8. Organization and ease of use
  9. Reputation of author, publisher, or producer
  10. Format durability
  11. Availability of materials in neighboring or OMNI consortium (Outreach Montana: Networked Information) libraries
  12. Cost (compared to anticipated use)


The following is a list of the major subject areas in the Library collection, arranged by Library of Congress call number. In addition, information about the current collection, the frequency of use, significance to the overall collection and mission of the Library, as well as goals and criteria for future development are provided for each subject area. Particular areas of interest are noted as they result from academic and/or community need or interest.

Much of the subject area criteria are summarized in Appendix B in the Summary of Collection Goals at the Division Level which largely follows the major divisions as noted in Using the Conspectus Method: a Collection Assessment Handbook (Mary Bushing, et al., Lacey, Washington: WLN, 1997).

The General Reading/Fiction and Children’s collections are not arranged by Library of Congress call number and come under the public library function of the Library, therefore, more explanation of their respective subject coverage is provided in the subject-specific criteria.

The Librarian uses this information, as complementary to the general and format-specific criteria, when making selection decisions. One exception to all rules is the Crow and Native American collection, which is expanded when possible across education levels, format, and sub-subjects.


Because the curriculum of Little Big Horn College does not provide courses taught in languages other than English and Crow, the Library collects materials only in these two languages.

Geographical Areas

The geographical focus of the collection is Montana, the Northern Rocky Mountains, the Northern Plains, and the Pacific Northwest. Materials dealing with the United States in general and various other parts of the world as required or demonstrated by interest.


Although the Library collection is made up primarily of print materials, there is growing importance and demand for information in other formats. The collection includes monographs, journals, magazines, newspapers, as well as videos, books-on-tape, and CD-ROMs. The Library provides Internet access to its community and may provide Crow oral histories online. The Library also provides online access through Infotrac to many periodicals. These are searchable, and in many cases, available in full text online.

The Library considers varying formats when making selection decisions. Major factors in these decisions include cost, availability, technical support requirements, and demand for the content in the format under question. These considerations are secondary to the primary factors in general and subject-specific selection criteria.