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Collection Development: Firm Orders

Provides information about the collections building process for the College of Charleston libraries.


Please note: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted both the firm order and material request processes. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions below for further clarification. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding during this time. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to Kayla Kipps, the Collection Development Librarian.


What are Firm Orders?

At the beginning of every fiscal year, each academic department is allotted a certain amount of money to spend on library materials. Departmental liaisons generate orders for library materials using the New Library Resource Order Request form, which are then completed by Collection Development staff. Our goal is to have all of the money in the firm order budget completely expended by the end of the fiscal year.


Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Timeline

Library allocates budget into serials, monographs, & approval plans (preliminary): April 2022
Preliminary budget approved by Faculty Library Committee: April 2022
Budget approved by Dean of Libraries: May 2022
Departments begin to submit orders: September 2022
Deadline for requesting journals and databases: December 2022
Departmental faculty liaisons encumber 40% of firm order budget: December 2022
Departmental faculty liaisons encumber 80% of firm order budget: February 2023
Departmental faculty liaisons submit 100% of firm orders: March 1 2023
Librarians finish encumbering any remaining funds: April 2023


Useful Links


Departmental Liaison Informational Meeting

The recording from the departmental liaison to the library information session held on October 21, 2022 can be found at this link.


Firm Order Process: Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much money is in my firm order budget this academic year?
    • Firm order fund balances can be found here.
  • What kind of materials can I request the library to purchase?
    • The firm order budget is specifically allocated for one-time material purchases inclusive of books, e-books, DVDs, or streaming media. You may request any material that you find suitable for the library and we encourage requesting books or DVDs you would like to use in your courses. Please be aware that we adopted an e-preferred acquisitions policy in 2020 and have updated our New Library Resource Order Request Form to reflect this change. This means that we will always attempt to purchase a requested title as an e-book first (if it is available electronically), with enough access to support your specific research or curricular needs.
      Please also be aware that we purchase e-book titles from academically licensed platforms and not all books will be available electronically. Because the titles must be licensed for use by the larger academic community, we are unable to purchase Kindle e-Books or anything that needs a platform to host it such as individual PDF or ePUB files not already part of one of our existing platforms.
      If you are interested in requesting a subscription resource such as a journal or database, please use the New Databases & Journals Request form.
  • Can I request print materials?
  • The library has a DVD I want to use for a course, can I make it available for use online/find streaming access?
    • The College Libraries currently have access to several streaming video databases. We would be happy to check on access to any particular film from these existing sources or check to see if we are able to locate streaming access from another source for an academic audience.
      Due to copyright and licensing restrictions, the library is unable to provide access to commercial streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, etc. for educational or public performance purposes.
  • I found an e-book/streaming video in the library catalog that I would like to assign to my course. Can I use library materials as course materials?
  • How do I place a book on physical reserves?

2022-2023 Fund Balances

The following Firm Order Funds by School 2022 - 2023 dashboard allows users to explore the firm order fund balance data visually and interactively. Using the arrows above the chart, users have access to two separate dashboards.

The first dashboard allows users to explore expended, encumbered, and available funds by each College of Charleston school. Users may mouse-over each column to find an individual breakdown of monetary amounts associated with each fund within an informative tooltip.

The second dashboard allows users to explore the same data, but with an additional filter that allows users to explore individual area funds in each school. This filter can allow users to compare and contrast data from funds within the same school.