Our Policies

 Collection Development Policy
 The Phoenix Files (Archives) Collection Policy
 Events + Use of Space
 Patron Privacy
 Open Access Policy
 Circulation Policies
 Interlibrary Loan

Collection Development Policy

Guiding Principles

Our primary goal in developing and maintaining our collection is to advance the educational, community-building, and outreach missions of Olin College by providing our students, faculty, and staff with access to the content and services they need, where and when they need them. We're committed to continually adapting our strategies to provide content in the forms that are the most accessible and useful to our users. We use a model of patron-driven acquisition, meaning we respond directly to requests for purchase, not only for "traditional" library items like books and DVDs, but for devices and tools to round out our Library of Things collection. We also view our spaces--hangout areas, study rooms, the Quiet Reading Room, and the Workroom--as part of our collection as well.

Library Users at the Center of Everything

Because of the size and ever-changing curriculum of Olin, we've chosen to pursue a "just in time" strategy for acquiring and retaining content instead of building collections "just in case" they're needed. This approach leverages our consortial and network borrowing powers; interlibrary loan processes; and the aforementioned model of patron-driven acquisition. We also will consider adding just about anything to our circulating collection, from Wacom tablets to binoculars. Through these and other strategies, we've been able to answer the actual needs of our campus community, not limiting ourselves to the constraints of an outdated model for managing academic libraries.

Acquisition and Weeding Guidelines

Acquisitions: We will consider all purchase requests for any type of material submitted to us by any Olin community member (students, staff, and faculty); however, we will not purchase xenophobic content or any materials that incite, encourage, or otherwise endorse violence, hate, or exclusion towards human beings. One of our most important services is our provision of course reserves books, often prohibitively expensive textbooks that we can make freely available for short borrowing periods in the library to ensure all students have fair and equitable access to the resources they need to complete their coursework. We conduct a biannual process of collecting lists of reserves (one for each semester), buy all requested materials, and set these aside for use on the library reserves shelf. Additionally, library staff engage in acquisitions processes guided by professional literature and our own ongoing mission of majorly diversifying both fiction and non-fiction collections in the Olin College Library.

Weeding: The library follows the CREW-MUSTIE guidelines, widely accepted by the library profession, in making weeding decisions. This means we justify the removal of items from the collection based on their date of purchase, rate of circulation, and use as course reserves. Additionally, library staff rely on the knowledge of subject matter experts on faculty to determine the continued usefulness and relevance of books in their areas of study; we invite all faculty members to come in and evaluate collections with a mind to helping us keep our holdings usable and up-to-date. When books and other items are removed from the collection, they are almost always donated to Better World Books, a certified B corporation that resells and re-donates items, or to local public libraries that accept donations; certain items, such as outdated reference materials, cannot be donated and are recycled instead.

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The Phoenix Files (Archives) Collection Policy


The Phoenix Files, a community archive of Olin College of Engineering, documents the history of student life and academic scholarship on campus. Its purpose is to serve students, faculty, and staff seeking to learn more about the culture, community, and unique educational practices of Olin College. Library staff is responsible for developing and maintaining the collection in consultation with other members of the Olin College community. While the physical archive maintains a small space in Campus Center 300d, the continued development of The Phoenix Files will prioritize born-digital and digitized objects.


The mission of The Phoenix Files is to collect evidence of campus culture and student and faculty scholarship at Olin College of Engineering.


The Phoenix Files covers student life and scholarship at Olin College, including student activities, research, and community events. Collected physical materials include student yearbooks, photography projects, student newspapers, and research papers and projects. The physical archive also includes items related to the development of Olin College, including administrative documents from the Olin Foundation and marketing materials and photography from the first few years of the college’s existence. Although the archive does contain some materials related to the F.W. Olin Foundation and the college’s general history, the collection focuses on culture and scholarship at Olin College. We do not collect administrative documents or operational records, such as blueprints or receipts.

Types of Materials Collected

Types of materials found in the physical archives include booklets, loose papers, flyers, ringed binders, photographs, three-dimensional art objects, and varied artifacts such as commemorative shovels and Olin-branded t-shirts. Audiovisual materials include CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, and other physical media formats. As of December 2021, all optical and tape materials are in the process of being digitized. Born-digital and digitized materials are stored at https://phoenixfiles.olin.edu/. The digital repository site includes faculty and student scholarship, research, publications, conference presentations, final projects, and other artifacts of campus culture.

As of January 2022, we no longer collect physical materials unless in exceptional circumstances that may further the goals of the collection. Instead, all new acquisitions should be uploaded to The Phoenix Files website (https://phoenixfiles.olin.edu/). Library staff can help with determining collection relevancy and the document upload process. Faculty members are encouraged to share their research publications in accordance with the college's open access policy.

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Events + Use of Space

Our library is a flexible space available for faculty, staff and students to study, to work together, to create, and to relax. We ask for advanced notice for organized events, especially those bringing in food or rearranging furniture, purely to avoid scheduling conflicts and to ensure an enjoyable library experience for all.

The library works best as a space for events where the entire community is invited, and we ask that more private gatherings occur in the lower level of the library, or in team rooms.

To notify library staff of an event, send the following information to library@olin.edu:

  • Primary event organizer and contact(s)
  • Area of the library to be reserved
  • Date and time of the event
  • When (date/time) you plan to set up and whether you need our assistance
  • What type of refreshments will be served (if any) and cleanup plans
  • Expected attendance

Our standard operating procedure is that the doors to the library are locked outside staffed hours (M-F 9-5) and when all library staff are not present. When hosting and events outside of these hours, we encourage that a faculty or staff member be present, but it is not required.

Use of the Quiet Reading Room

During the academic year, the Quiet Reading Room (QRR) is not available for events. We recognize it’s a pleasant space to congregate, but it's of utmost importance for our library to provide a first class study environment for the community and to honor the intentions of the gift funds that were used to create the QRR.

To request the QRR during vacations and the summer months, email us for arrangements.

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Patron Privacy

The right to privacy and freedom of intellectual pursuit are core values of the Olin College Library and the library profession as a whole. We maintain the privacy of patron circulation records as recommended by the American Library Association and will not disclose these records, either casually or upon request. Requests for research or reference consultation will also remain confidential. Records containing information about patrons are kept to the minimum needed to maintain library workflows.

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The Library is not accepting donations of books or other physical media at this time. Please email library@olin.edu for more information.

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Open Access Policy

(Approved by the faculty on November 28, 2012)

The Faculty of Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy:

Each Faculty member grants to Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. More specifically, each Faculty member grants to Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same. The policy applies to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy. The Provost or Provost’s designate will waive application of the license for a particular article or delay access for a specified period of time upon express direction by a Faculty member.

Each Faculty member will provide an electronic copy of the author’s final version of each article in a timely manner at no charge to the appropriate representative of the Provost’s Office in an appropriate format (such as PDF) specified by the Provost’s Office. The Provost’s Office may make the article available to the public in an open-access repository. The Office of the Provost will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Faculty from time to time. The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented to the Faculty.

References: Harvard’s annotated Model Open-Access Policy, revision 1.7 of April 17, 2010, 00:57:25.

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Circulation Policies

Individuals with Olin ID cards, Olin alumni, and members of schools with whom Olin College has reciprocal agreements (Babson and Wellesley) can check out materials from the Olin College Library. Visitors may use books and most electronic resources within the library during public hours (M-F 9-5).

Standard Loan Periods

  • Books + DVDS: 28 days
  • Course Reserves: 3 hours
  • Tools + Media Equipment: 7 days
    Use for longer than one week requires approval from library staff (we almost always say yes). Email library@olin.edu to request and confirm.

Power Drills

Power drills can be used for small, shorts project that will not create unreasonable periods of excessive noise or otherwise be disruptive to other students. They are part of the collection to supplement what is available to you in the Miller Academic Center, but the safety rules and practices used in the shops apply here, too. That means you are required to take, and wear, safety goggles in accordance with general campus safety policies and best practices.

Off-Campus Media Use

If you are taking a camera off-campus, you must use a protective case. We have carrying cases for all of the cameras, so please ask for help if you don't see them on the shelf.

Overdue/Late Fees

Overdue fees are not charged.

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Interlibrary Loan

Placing a request

If the Library does not own the item you need, and you cannot find it at the Babson or Wellesley College libraries, you can request it via Inter-Library Loan (ILL). We submit these requests to libraries across the country, who then loan the item to us on your behalf. Books, journal articles and book chapters are the most commonly requested items. You can also request DVDs, CDs, and anything else that a library is willing to loan!

Turnaround Time

Generally, delivery ranges from 5-14 days for physical items (books, DVDs, etc.,) and 2-10 days for electronic items (single articles, book chapters).


When your item arrives, we'll email you to let you know, and provide you with the due date. Pick up and return physical items from the wooden shelf near the front desk.

Renewing an ILL

Submit renewal requests 1-2 weeks before the item's due date by emailing ill@olin.edu. We can't guarantee renewals, as each library's policy is different. Be prepared to return items by the due date. We can always request it again from a second library. If you feel your item should be in the Olin Library collection, please contact us and we'll be happy to purchase it.

Electronic Delivery

Journal articles and book chapters may be emailed to you, depending on the copyright and publisher policy. Otherwise, we will notify you that your printed article is available for pickup at the front desk. Full ebooks cannot be ILL'd due to copyright restrictions.

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