Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Factors Influencing Collection Policy

The most recent campus trends show an increasing local interest in Brazil and the Caribbean. This is evidenced primarily through the research and teaching interests of new faculty hires and new courses. Concerning the Brazilian Amazon, changes in natural resource and land use, settlement patterns, and social change are of particular interest. Interest in the Caribbean area, especially in history, society, and cultural studies, is also on the rise.

A historically strong campus interest in Mexico has accelerated as well, particularly since the implementation of NAFTA. Issues related to trade, business, and the environment have come to the fore, as well as border area concerns. African-descent populations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean also continue to be a focus of strong local interest. Scholarship related to issues of ethnicity, gender, and social change throughout the developing world is a major trend that demands an appropriate increase in library collections support.

While most of the Latin American and Caribbean studies collection is integrated into the Main Library's general collection, valuable resources are found in numerous other special formats or discipline-based collections. These include materials in the Business Library, Government Documents, Fine Arts, Murray and Hong Special Collections, Maps, and the Main Reference collections, which are generally purchased with funds managed by the Latin American Librarian on the basis of geographic focus. In some instances, purchase requests are made of the managers of these collections, in particular for important art or reference works.

The most significant group of materials for Latin American studies that are treated in another collection policy statement are the documents of international intergovernmental organizations that deal with Latin America or the Caribbean area. The Government Documents unit has collecting responsibilities for publications of the Organization of American States, the United Nations and its related agencies, and the regional development banks, to name but a few. The disciplinary selector with whom collecting responsibility boundaries most often blur is the librarian responsible for Chicanx and Latinx Studies. Purchase decisions are made in consultation with this librarian and with other area or disciplinary selectors when questions of collecting responsibilities arise. Similarly, selection tools are shared or exchanged to enhance collection coverage.