The Wesley House Cambridge Library
Printed Materials and Archives Collection Development
and Conservation Policy
Wesley House is a community of Methodist scholars and students at the heart of the University city of Cambridge. Since 1921 it has been a gateway for students in the Wesleyan tradition into the excellent resources for learning in the University of Cambridge, and since 1972, to the shared resources of the globally significant Cambridge Theological Federation (a unique collaboration between Anglican, Reformed, Catholic, Orthodox and Methodist communities of prayer and study). The college library was originally established through an endowment given by Michael Gutteridge in honour of his wife, Ada.
In 2015-16, Wesley House will relocate the library collection to a new facility on the Wesley House site that includes appropriate study space for students and researchers, as well as a purpose-built, restricted-access archive room to house the special collection of historical, theological, and denominational publications. As the college seeks to be a reflective, cross-cultural community for scholarship and prayer in the Wesleyan tradition, the Library will serve as a resource for an international cohort of students and visiting scholars.
1.2 User community
The primary purpose of the Library is to support the scholarly activities Wesley House students, staff, and visiting scholars engaged in postgraduate or professional research in one of the theological disciplines. The Library also supports the undergraduate and postgraduate studies and ministerial formation of Cambridge Theological Federation students by holding a substantial collection in the specialisms of pastoral/practical theology and Church History in addition to more general theological texts.
The Wesley House Library is not, as such, open to the public. Independent scholars and others interested in accessing the collection may do so only through prior arrangement with the college staff. Such individuals may not receive borrowing rights.
2. Purpose, Scope and Context of Policy
The purpose of Library Policy is to provide a framework for the selection, acquisition, and maintenance of the Library’s printed holdings and archival materials. It is intended to assist academic and library staff in the selection of material relevant to supporting Wesley House’s vision of being a community of scholars in the Wesleyan tradition. It is intended that the policy will contribute to developing and maintaining a collection that resources the research and educational needs of its constituent user community.
The policy will be exercised in the selection of printed materials, keeping in view considerations and limitations such as funds and space.
It is recognized that no collection development policy can be exhaustive. These guidelines are intended to support, rather than to replace, the knowledge and common sense of individuals. The policy also supports consultation on Library-related matters by college staff, the Library Committee, and the Board of Directors of the Wesley House Trust.
3. Collection Development
3.1 Overview of collections
Wesley House maintains a theological library. The Library’s general collection of printed materials include a range of books in systematic and contextual theology, pastoral theology, church history, biblical studies, homiletics, liturgy, hymnody, world religions, interfaith relations, and Wesleyan/Methodist studies. The library’s special collection includes a long run of the Minutes of Methodist Conference, a range of early writings by and/or about Methodists (and their antecedents), early Methodist periodicals, pamphlets, and some manuscript material (currently deposited in the Methodist Collection at the John Rylands Library). The College Archives have a variety of materials related to the College’s foundation and later history, individuals associated with the college (e.g., Michael Gutteridge, R N Flew, Gordon Rupp), documents pertinent to the College buildings and projects, and similar materials.
Historically, the Library acquisition of materials focussed on the need for classical and contemporary works in the theological disciplines for students working toward their academic awards while in formation for ministry in the ecumenical context of the Cambridge Theological Federation. The library also acquired denominationally-specific materials helpful to those training for ministry in the Methodist Church in Britain. The college has acquired a special collection of Wesleyana and early editions of Methodist historical and theological materials to which access is restricted.
From 2014 onward, the Library aims to maintain and develop the collection in a way that supports the purposes of the Wesley House Trust, resources the college’s vision to be ‘a reflective, cross-cultural community of prayer and study in the Wesleyan tradition’, and is responsive to the college’s responsibility as a member institution of the ecumenical Cambridge Theological Federation. Therefore, the Library will:
1) continue acquiring and maintaining a collection of printed and e-materials that provide significant resources for the study and further development of Wesleyan/Methodist history and theology worldwide;
2) acquire and maintain materials of scholarly value related to the Methodist tradition in East Anglia;
3) acquire and maintain materials by or about the college and people directly related to the college; e.g. staff, former staff, former students;
4) maintain an up-to-date general theological library collection reflecting the specialisms of Church History and Pastoral Theology that contributes to the academic development of students in the Cambridge Theological Federation in consultation with relevant CTF institutions and committees;
5) select material with sensitivity to the holdings and collection development policies of other libraries in the city, particularly the holdings of other houses within the Cambridge Theological Federation, the University and Divinity Faculty Libraries of the University of Cambridge, and accessible collections of the University of Cambridge colleges.
6) acquire both primary source materials to enhance its collections, and secondary works to support and facilitate research. There is no stipulated balance between the purchase of new and rare material. This relationship is dependent on the changing nature of the second-hand book market. However, priority is considered for rare/unique material that may be difficult to attain subsequently.
7) considered physical condition of items as one criterion in the selection of second-hand
material. The Library’s ability to preserve individual items and collections, and the
cost involved, are factors that are taken into account when deciding whether to
8) take into consideration the financial resources designated for library purposes, especially when considering expensive items. The decision may also be
influenced by the availability of items in another library within a reasonable distance.
Editions: For modern books, the Library will acquire new editions of holdings, only if
there has been substantial revision of the text, if the work contains significant new
material, or if the subject matter has undergone rapid change.
Hard Backs and Paper Backs: If a book has been published in both hardback and
paperback, the Library prefers the paperback version whenever possible for the sake of cost efficiency.
Recommendations: Recommendations for purchase for the general library collection are made by the college’s academic staff, fellows of the college, and members of the Library Committee. Approval of purchases is made by the academic staff member with oversight of the Library.
Selection of books for the specialisms in Church History and Pastoral Theology may also be made by tutors, module and/or paper leaders in the Cambridge Theological Federation, purchased from the Federation library funds, and deposited in the collection by the Federation library staff.
General principles: All materials are acquired within the framework of the Collection
Development Policy. The Library acquires holdings in one of three ways: Purchase;
Donation (gift or bequest); Deposit.
Purchase: The Library purchases printed and e-materials with funds in the college budget designated for the Library according to the selection principles outlines in 3.2.
Donation, gift or bequest: Individuals or institutions wanting to donate items to the Library should, in the first instance, contact the academic staff at Wesley House to discuss whether the items are suitable for the Library collection. Donations are assessed against the usual selection criteria outlined in the Collection Development Policy.
The Library may accept donations of one or a few items, providing that they
are relevant to the collection and purposes of the college, and that the Library does not already hold a copy/copies. Donated items must be in good condition. Assessment of condition and suitability of an item will be made by members of the college’s Library Committee (or by persons designated by that committee).
Consideration will also be given to library shelving space, along with costs associated with processing, conservation, or cataloguing.
Donations, gifts and bequests become the property of Wesley House Cambridge. They are accepted on condition that any duplicates or unwanted material may be sold or
otherwise disposed of, according to Library policy. The Library will consider
the wishes of donors/testators, and will accommodate these where appropriate.
However donations/bequests may be refused if inappropriate conditions are attached.
Deposit: The Library is willing to consider the deposit of collections or single items
by individuals or institutions. A set of terms is agreed between the Library and the
depositor. Under the terms of deposit, the item(s) remain the property of the depositor,
but are housed by the Library, and are made available to the Library’s users.
4. Collection Management
4.1 Retention and Disposal
Efforts will be made to maintain the currency of the collections. Superseded editions and unwanted duplicates, with no further research value will be withdrawn periodically. The online catalogue amended accordingly.
Non-rare materials in a bad state of repair may be replaced if this proves to be more
economically viable than restoration.
Missing items drawn to the attention of Library staff are designated as such on the
online catalogue. Replacement of missing items is considered where appropriate,
depending on availability, cost, and current relevance to the Library’s collections. For
out-of-print works a replacement copy may not be available.
College members will regularly assist with a library stock check under the direction of the Federation library staff.
The Library is committed to the preservation of its printed books, especially older volumes in the special collection. Funds will be provided in the Library budget for the repair and conservation of printed books. The selection of books for repair will be made by individuals designated by the Library Committee
Wesley House staff attempt to increase awareness and use of the Library’s resources amongst
researchers through a number of means, including membership in the Cambridge Theological Federation, interaction with the Wesleyan Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion, the Wesleyan Theological Society, and the World Methodist Historical Association.
Adopted by the Trustees of Wesley House, Cambridge
25th February 2015