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Library and Archive Policies


This section contains the collection development policy for the Wiggin Library. This is one of the of our most important policy documents and covers how and what resources are acquired by the Wiggin Library.


Teaching and Learning

The primary community served by the Wiggin Library are Meadville Lombard students and faculty. The core of our collection development policy centers around supporting learning as it relates to our curriculum. This includes collecting comprehensively all material relating to Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism and collecting at an advance study level material in other subject areas, such congregational leadership, Hebrew and New Testament Bible, and practical theology and worship arts that support the learning needs of our students within our curriculum. We seek to acquire the most current scholarship on these topics. 

In addition to collecting according to subject, the Wiggin Library acquires two physical copies and, if possible, an ebook copy, of all titles listed on syllabi as required or recommended reading for every class taught at Meadville Lombard to put on course reserve. For LIGHT courses and programs, Wiggin Library acquires two physical copies of all titles required or suggested as part of a LIGHT course or program. In addition to these course reserves, the Wiggin Library acquires at least one copy of all material on the Ministerial Fellowship Committee Reading List. When possible, ebook copies of material on course reserve or the Ministerial Fellowship Committee Reading List will be purchased in addition to physical copies. 

Research Support

For faculty and students engaging in research, the Wiggin Library collects comprehensively all material relating to Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism and at an advanced level subjects commonly addressed in coursework. The Wiggin Library also provides access to Atla Religion Database with AtlaSerials and JSTOR-Religion and Theology journal databases to ensure faculty and graduate students have easy access to religion and theology journals. 

For research inquiries that extend beyond to Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism and the subject areas collected at the level of advanced and basic study, Wiggin Library, through its consortial relation with CARLI (Consortium of Academic and Research Library in Illinois),  provides I-Share access to graduate students and faculty directly through our online catalog. I-Share is a merged, union catalog of the holdings of all I- Share libraries in CARLI. The I-Share union catalog contains over 14.7 million unique bibliographic records and 38.1 million item records, representing the holdings of 91 CARLI I-Share member institutions. In addition to interlibrary loan through I-Share, graduate students and faculty have access to ILL through ACTS (Association of Chicago Theological Schools) and OCLC WorldShare as well.

In additional to speciality religion and theology databases, the library provides access to a suite of EBSCO databases, including Academic Search Complete and ERIC (Education Resource Information Center). 

Community Support

The Wiggin Library also serves the larger UU community, including ministers, religious educators, and lay UUs. This group of patrons is primarily served by the Wiggin Library's role as a repository of Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist material. Additional copies of introductory Unitarian Universalist material, religious education material, and religious education curriculum are acquired to serve this patron group.

Current and Useful Information Resources and Services

To best serve all of its patrons, the Wiggin Library uses collection development to provide cutting edge scholarship and support the curriculum and educational model of the school. To do this, our collection development strategy is always evolving and changing to reflect the information needs of our students, faculty, and community. Our collection development policy is subject to iterative changes throughout the academic year and is systematically reevaluated when Meadville Lombard revises or updates its curriculum and educational model. Decisions on individual services, such as subscriptions to databases, are made yearly prior to the next fiscal year. 

Engaged Collecting

Throughout the selection process, library staff intentionally work to discover and acquire materials that reflect a diversity of identities, experiences, and faith traditions within and beyond Unitarian Universalism.

In some instances, as part of comprehensively collecting Unitarian, Universalist, Unitarian Universalist material, the library will acquire material that documents Unitarian Universalism but does not reflect its stated values. Both the library’s and Meadville Lombard’s mission statements value “harnessing accountability to repair historical wrongs and present injustice.” To do this, historical wrongs and current injustices must be documented.


Monographs: Print books are the primary format for selection. Hardcover copies are preferable to paperback copies. When acquiring course reserves, at least one hardcover copy will be acquired. Ebooks are only acquired to supplement existing holdings and to support courses. Wiggin Library exclusively purchases unlimited user access or DRM free copies.

Reference: Digital access is strongly preferred due to increased accessibility and searchability. Print reference will only be acquired for material that cannot be accessed digitally. 

Periodicals. Digital access through databases is our default mode of periodical access. Subscriptions of print journals and magazines will only be purchased when the title is unavailable electronically or if the print journal is related to Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism. Some print magazines will be acquired for browsing, but are not retained longterm by the library.

Open Access and Free Digital Resources: High quality open access resources and free resources are selected by faculty staff and are integrated directly into library pages. Other open access resource of value are added to the A-Z Resource list. 

Subject Area Collection Levels

The Wiggin Library comprehensively collects all material related to Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism. The Wiggin Library attempts, as much as it is possible, to include significant, secondary, and minor monographs, as well as journals, self-published material, and other resources related to Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism. Although English is the primary language for all Wiggin Library materials, other applicable languages may be collected for the subjects in this collection level. Out of print titles may be acquired at this collection level, if the search process and cost of the materials are not prohibitive.

  • Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist History (BX9801-BX9869, BX9901-9969)
  • Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist Theology (BX9801-BX9869, BX9901-9969)
  • Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist Religious Education (BX9801-BX9869, BX9901-9969, BV1460-1615)
  • Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist cultural contributions, including: Hymns (BV445-BV447), Meditations and Reflections (BV4800-4911) and Sermons (BX9842-BX9853)

This level of collecting supports the course work required for the MLTS curriculum and is enough to maintain the level of knowledge required for general needs, though with less intensity than is required for research. Areas within these topics will be collected when relevant to current course offerings and faculty research needs. It includes current, historical, and retrospective monographs, and basic reference and bibliographic tools.

  • American Religious History (BL2500-2530), including Puritanism and Congregationalism
  • Congregational Leadership (BV646-652.9, BV4000-4470)
  • Ecology (GF1-900)
  • Ethics (BJ1-1725)
  • Hebrew and New Testament Bible (BS1-2970)
  • Humanism (BL2747.6)
  • Liberalism (Religion) (BR1615-BR1617)
  • Paganism, Neo-paganism, Occult, Earth Religions, and New Religions (BL473-619, BL900-980)
  • Practical Theology and Worship Arts (BV1-5099)
    • Pastoral Theology (BV4000-4470)
    • Practical Religion (BV4485-5099)
  • Religious Education (BV1460-1615)
  • Social sciences
    • Social conditions and social reform (HN1-995)
    • Communities, classes, and races (HT51-1595)
  • Theology
    • Liberation Theology (BT83.57)
    • Queer Theology (BT83.65)
    • Process Theology (BT83.6)
  • Transcendentalism (B905, PS217.T7)

This level of collecting supports the introductory study of the following fields. It includes significant monographs, as well as a limited number of secondary monographs, and a limited number of recent reference tools and journals. At this collection level, books that are easily accessible through reciprocal borrowing programs and/or interlibrary loan will not be collected.

  • Buddhism (BQ1-9800)
  • Christianity (BR1-1725)
  • Comparative Religion (BL410-490)
  • Islam (BP1-610)
  • Hinduism (BL1100-1295)
  • Judaism (BM 1-990)
  • World Religions (BL74-99)
  • Theology- Doctrinal (BT1-1480)
  • Theology- Practical (BV1-5099)

Other Criteria for Selection

The Wiggin Library will acquire at least one copy of all book-length material written, edited, or including contributions by core members of MLTS faculty. Materials written, edited, or including contributions by affiliate or adjunct faculty will be collected as deemed appropriate by the library director. The Wiggin Library will also attempt to acquire all material published by MLTS graduates, as deemed appropriate by the library director.

At the discretion of the library director, material in subject areas not listed in comprehensive, advance study or basic study levels can be selected and purchased.

Selection Process

The library director is the primary selector for all library materials. Members of the library staff may compile lists of titles for consideration, but the library director will make all final decisions about which materials are selected inclusion in the library collection. All students and members of MLTS faculty and staff are encouraged to recommend titles for inclusion in the library collection. Book recommendations should be submitted by email to the library director.

Selection Process

Course Reserves: 3 to 4 weeks prior to open registration for courses, faculty are required to submit a reading list to the Wiggin Library. The library will purchase two copies of each book and, when possible, a digital copy as well. After the course is over, the material selected for the class will be moved to the general collection.

Comprehensive Collection Level: All material related to Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism is selected and purchased as soon as it published. Wiggin Library has a standing order with Midwest Books for library copies of all books published Skinner House (the official publisher of the Unitarian Universalist Association). Skinner House sends a complimentary paperback copy of every book they publish and that book is cataloged as well. Material by other publishers will be purchased from those publishers directly or through third-party vendors.  

Advanced Study and Basic Study Collection Level: Material collected at the advanced and basic study level will be selected and purchased during the second half of the fiscal year (January to June). The amount of material selected at the advanced and basic study collection level is dependent upon the budget impact of acquiring the required readings and comprehensive collection level materials. The advanced and basic study collection level selection process is open-ended, and the library director will work with other library staff and faculty to determine what material to select. Material will be purchased from the publishers directly or third-party vendors.

Subscriptions: All renewals and possible new digital subscriptions are evaluated annually in May. Library staff determines subscriptions based on curricular needs, usage data, faculty and student suggestions, and cost. 

Gifts and Donations

The Wiggin Library may accept gifts of books and other materials with the approval of the library director. Those seeking to donate books and other materials must first confirm the Wiggin Library does not already hold those materials in its collection and then contact the library. Even if the material is not currently held by the Wiggin Library, the donation can still be denied. All donated materials become the property of the Wiggin Library upon receipt and will be evaluated with the same criteria applied to purchased materials. The library is free to dispose of any materials donated to the library if they are deemed unnecessary by the library director, or a person appointed by the library director, whether because they do not fit the collection needs of the library or due to poor condition. Both parties should be aware of this stipulation at the time the gift is offered and may be put in writing if it seems necessary. Materials sent to the Wiggin Library without prior approval from library staff will be disposed of.


In order to maintain a collection that is both vibrant and useful, and to allow for its continued growth, the Wiggin Library regularly and systematically weeds materials from the collection. Weeding decisions will be made by the library staff and faculty members will be consulted about the titles chosen for deselection whenever necessary. For material comprehensively collected, material will be weeded only due to condition or duplicate copies. For all other material, weeding criteria will include condition, number of copies, relevance to the current curriculum of MLTS, relevance to the field, future value for research and historical purposes, and circulation history.

Material selected for weeding will be assessed for eligibility for the Last Copy Project at CARLI. Weeded items that are determined to be the last copy in Illinois will be submitted to CARLI. Items rejected by CARLI will be sold, donated, or discarded as appropriate.


The Wiggin Library uses the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system to organize the library collection, and Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to aide searching the library catalog. We recognize that the Library of Congress systems often use outdated hierarchies and terminology, and the systems may not be inclusive of all people. When cataloging new material, library staff will use inclusive, accurate, and just terminology - referencing alternative controlled vocabularies to supplement LC. If library staff discovers outdated terminology in existing bibliographic records, we will update those terms. If patrons have any issues with subject headings and classification, please contact the library at so we can correct it.

As a CARLI member library participating in I-Share, the Wiggin Library operates within a shared catalog and uses copy cataloging procedures for acquired titles already held by other I-Share libraries. As appropriate, library staff may reconsider classification and/or description of items if the shared record doesn't meet local preferred practices. In large part, records are used unaltered by Wiggin library staff. All original cataloging employs the intentionality in classification as described above.

Wiggin Library users take advantage of an undifferentiated catalog searching experience, interchangeably viewing item records from the Wiggin Library as well as all other I-Share libraries. As such, the library catalog displays item records with bibliographic description (subject headings, classification, identifiers, etc.) created by other institutions and are uncontrolled by the Wiggin Library. 

Meadville Lombard Wiggin Library
180 N. Wabash Ave.
Suite 625 
Chicago, IL 60601

Library and Archives Phone: 312-546-6488        Library Email:        Archives Email: