Library Policies


MERIT Library is designed to serve the information needs of the students, staff and faculty of the School of Education. MERIT Library’s primary mission is the provision of materials and services for programs related to teacher training and certification. The Library’s budget is predicated on the primary mission and does not provide for the development of a research collection.

Campus Library Collection Responsibilities

The School of Education includes departments which emphasize the traditional subject areas of the discipline of education, as well as the departments of Art and Kinesiology. Library support for the academic departments of the School is provided by the campus libraries, which have responsibility for the materials in the departments’ subject area.

MERIT Library’s collection is developed to serve the needs of the teacher certification programs in the departments of Curriculum & Instruction, Physical Education, and Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education. In supporting these programs, the Library does not attempt to develop comprehensive subject discipline collections, but rather emphasizes those resources which are directly applicable to teacher education and training. Materials are also collected in those programs in educational administration and counselor education which are directed towards the elementary and secondary school community. Materials in the areas of educational sociology and educational psychology are collected in support of courses for teacher certification and training programs.

The U.W. General Library System is responsible for the acquisition and maintenance of materials related to upper-level research in the disciplines noted in the paragraph above, as well as support for the disciplines of higher education, comparative and international education, history and philosophy of education, educational philosophy and educational sociology. Other campus libraries which provide support to the programs of the School of Education include, but are not limited to, the Law Library (educational law), the Health Sciences Library (kinesiology) and the Kohler Art library (fine arts). Extensive runs of serials are held by the campus resource libraries: Memorial (social sciences and humanities); Steenbock Memorial Library (biological sciences); Wendt Library (physical sciences) as well as the Health Sciences and Law libraries. The State Historical Society serves as the official depository for the publications of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, as well as for the U.S. Department of Education. Digital collections and archives are maintained by the U.W. Digital Collections Center.

MERIT Library promotes collaboration in collection development with other U.W. System libraries supporting teacher training programs; with the Madison School and Community Education Library (MSCEL, the learning resource center for Madison Metropolitan School District); and with other UW-Madison libraries. Acquiring copies of materials on order or held by these libraries is limited in order to increase budget efficiency and the uniqueness and depth of each library’s collection.

Scope of the Collection

MERIT Library’s collection includes materials for the professional development of the teacher, examples of commercially produced textbooks, instructional materials, and a representative sampling of the supplementary materials, including electronic resources, that would typically be located in a school library media center.

Professional Development Materials

Titles related to the professional development of the teacher are selected in the areas of the theory and practice of education, curriculum, educational psychology, special education, physical education, educational technology, educational testing and measurement, childhood development, counseling and guidance, and educational administration related to preschool through grade 12 education. The professional collection also includes materials in adult education and teacher education, as well as a sampling of tests and inventories relevant to the certification programs of the School. Tests and inventories purchased for the MERIT Library collection must be recognized as suitable for use by the public by their publisher and by the American Psychological Association. Recommendations or requests for specialized titles of advanced research, highly technical books, foreign language publications, and doctoral theses will be referred to appropriate selectors at other campus libraries. The Library does not typically collect textbooks appropriate to higher education.
The journals collected by MERIT Library include titles in support of the certification programs noted in the above paragraph. Duplication of print and electronic subscriptions is avoided when practical.

Reference Collection

The reference collection provides a sampling of basic reference sources which are related to teacher training and certification. These materials include specialized educational encyclopedias, dictionaries, statistical sources and bibliographies. In recognition of the teacher’s role in selecting instructional and supplementary resources for use in the classroom, guides to instructional resources and children’s and young adults’ print and non-print materials are also collected.

Instructional and Supplemental Materials

The primary purpose of the Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade (PreK-12) collection is to support the professional curriculum of the School of Education. These materials are designed to be used by students as they learn to identify, select, evaluate and use a multiplicity of resources in developing the curriculum for elementary and secondary students. The reading level of these materials ranges from preschool to secondary, with a strong emphasis on materials for preschool through the middle school years. Instructional and supplementary materials are collected in print and non-print formats in those subject areas in which the School offers teacher certification.
Since these materials are primarily intended for use by the teacher in training rather than for classroom practice, the teacher’s edition of instructional texts and accompanying workbooks is the first purchase priority. The Madison School and Community Education Library collects student editions of current textbooks used by or under consideration by the Madison Metropolitan School District. MERIT Library’s PreK-12 and Professional collections are developed to provide a current, not a historical, perspective. The materials in these collections are periodically evaluated for their currency.

Selection of materials

Responsibility for the selection of materials for the collection is divided by subject area among the professional staff of MERIT Library. Selections are made based upon criteria developed for each type of material. Materials are selected based on favorable reviews, inclusion in standard listings and bibliographies, faculty, staff and student recommendations, as well as by examining materials which are provided to the Library by vendor approval plans.

Purchase Recommendations

Selectors welcome and encourage faculty and student assistance in developing the collection. Faculty and students may submit requests to any of MERIT Library’s professional staff, to the Reference Desk, or by way if the online request forms provided in MadCat or on the MERIT Library web site. Requests for materials which do not fall within scope of the Library’s collection may be referred to another campus library. The requestor will be notified of the Library’s decision regarding the request.

Reserve Materials

MERIT Library will purchase materials that are requested for reserve by faculty and staff in the School of Education. Materials that are required readings for School of Education and are needed for reserve will be purchased even if they do not fall within the scope of the Library’s collection development policy. Unless a need for multiple copies is demonstrated, purchase of reserve titles is generally limited to one copy per title.

Assessment and De-selection

The MERIT Library collection is periodically reassessed and updated. Materials are removed which selectors deem inaccurate, out of date, irreparably damaged, insufficiently used, or inappropriate to the scope of the collection. Titles are retained if not available by collaborating libraries. Titles removed may be given to another campus library, donated to Friends of Wisconsin Libraries, and/or replaced by new editions.

Revised August 2009

This form is for patrons who are claiming they have returned material(s) that are still showing up in their library account.

Please note that after you fill out this form, the MERIT Library will search for the item(s) for six weeks. During that time, we ask that you continue to search your home, office, car etc. for the item. Over 80% of items are found by the patron. If, at the end of the six week period, the item has not been found or returned, the MERIT Library will decide whether or not to forgive or deny the claims return. This decision is largely based on the specificity of your explanation below.