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Reference and Information Services

The Reference and Information Department serves as the information center for the Miller F. Whittaker Library and is located on the first floor. The reference staff assesses and selects a quality collection, provides access to a variety of resources, provides reference and library instruction services, and coordinates with the different schools and departments.

Reference Staff

Reference Desk     803-536-8640
E-mail                    reference@scsu.edu

Mrs. Doris Johnson Felder
Reference and Information Specialist
Coordinator of State/Federal Government Documents - (803) 536-8642

Dr. Wanda Priester
Reference and Information Specialist
Coordinator of Electronic Retrieval Services - (803) 536-8647

Ms. Mykisha Keitt
Library Technical Assistant - 803-536-8640

Reference Services, Policies, and Procedures

Reference Assistance

Reference assistance is provided by the staff at the Reference and Information Center to all library users including the general public. Reference staff are here to assist patrons in locating general information, books, journal articles, or other types of information.  However, please note that it is not the responsibility of the Reference Department to provide extensive research for faculty and staff.  Staff are here to provide users with necessary tools to conduct effective research on any given topic. Visit the Reference and Information Center or contact us at (803) 536-8640. 

Online search assistance through e-mail is provided for quick reference, factual information, or information concerning SC State University.  Extensive research questions cannot be handled through e-mail and instead require a visit to the library.  Users will be notified if their question cannot be answered through the online service.

Photocopying Services

There is a coin-operated copying machine for copying print materials located on the 1st floor in the photocopying room.  The cost is $.15 a page.

There is a printer located on the first floor in the Reference Area for computer copies.

Collection Development Policy 

Selection and acquisition of materials for the library collection is prioritized according to curricular needs with the goal of developing a balanced collection which supports the undergraduate and graduate programs offered by SC State University.

The Miller F. Whittaker Library also seeks to provide support for the information needs of the faculty, administrators, and staff either by direct acquisition of library resources or by engaging in cooperative sharing with other libraries.  The Library encourages the university community to actively participate in the materials selection process, and always welcomes suggestions and input.

Responsibility for Selection

Ultimately the Dean of Library Services is responsible for the guidance of collection development.  Much assistance in this important task is expected of the University faculty and the librarians as well as the University administrators and students.  Input concerning collection development by community members is also welcome.  While input from faculty, administrators, students, and community members is sought and relied upon in terms of subject area expertise by faculty and administrators, it is the Acquisitions/Reference Librarian which makes the final recommendations concerning selections and collection development.  Ordering and selection responsibilities for free government publications via the federal/state depository systems lie with the Government Documents/Reference Librarian and for web-based/electronic resources lie with the Electronic Resources Librarian.

Responsibilities for the Faculty

Faculty members are responsible for submitting requests for library matters which support the curricula and research needs of their departments.  Each academic department appoints a Department Liaison for the library who has an overview of the department’s curriculum as well as a strong knowledge of the library’s collections.  This individual initiates order requests for books and forwards them to their Library Liaison who authorizes ordering of library materials by the acquisitions department.

Collection Management

Each subject liaison is responsible for a regular and ongoing program of collection assessment, improvement, and de-selection, including materials in all collected formats and media.

Each subject liaison, with input from faculty will produce a formal subject profile for the materials in his or her subject areas.

Formal assessment of the collection will take place annually, using best practices, benchmarking with standard sources and selected libraries, and the most current tools and techniques. Gaps thus identified in the collection will be filled as funds are available.

Outdated or out-of-scope materials will be weeded.

The Acquisitions/Reference Librarian will oversee and provide support to all subject liaisons in collection management and development activities.  This librarian, in collaboration with a subject liaison’s supervisor and any relevant committees, will have the power to review and revise selection decisions.

Books and Non-print Media

So as to enhance faculty input in the selection procedure, academic departments are given a budget near the beginning of the academic year for purchase of books and non-print media.  Allocations for these purchases are based on application of an acquisitions formula which factors in the cost of materials, enrollment in classes, as well as numbers of majors and the existence of graduate programs.  Faculty request for purchase of books and non-print media should contain as much information as possible about the requested items and should be submitted via the Book Order Request Form.  The Acquisitions/ Reference Librarian will set appropriate deadlines for requests for requests to be submitted and encumbered by the end of the fiscal year.  Requests which were not filled during the fiscal year will be retained and considered for ordering during the subsequent fiscal year.  Faculty will be contacted concerning the status of their request, if problems arise concerning filling requests for ordering.  Faculty will be informed when their materials ordered have arrived in the library. Funds not expended by faculty requests will be expended by library faculty liaisons or the Acquisitions/Reference Librarian in order to maintain progress toward development of a balanced collection. 


Faculty input is also sought in the selection of serials.  Each spring academic departments are asked to review library serial holdings which support their areas of the curriculum and to suggest additions or deletions to subscriptions defined by the Library as non –core titles.  The cost of subscriptions as well as the number of titles will be considered in the addition /deletion process; with preference given to titles in digital format, requests for additions to titles in serials holdings are accepted throughout the year by liaison librarians or lies with the Electronic Resources/Reference Librarian who coordinates the annual selection of serials titles.

Electronic Resources

Information available in electronic format is considered for purchase as requests are received and consortia purchase opportunities arise.  Selection of such resources is reviewed by the Electronic Resources/Reference Librarian.  Recommendations for purchase are made to the Acquisitions/Reference Librarian and the Dean of Library Services; space and budgetary considerations often necessitate that materials purchased in electronic format require the deletion of duplicate materials in print format.

Criteria for Selection of Materials

The following factors are recommended for faculty to consider when making selections: 

  • accuracy

  • anticipated authority and reputation of the publisher, vendor, and/or author

  • anticipated need in fulfilling request for information

  • social and/or artistic merit and timeliness of the item

  • need for additional material on the same subject in the collection

  • cost in relation to anticipated benefit. 


Weeding is the process of withdrawing obsolete or damaged materials from the libraries’ collections.  This process is recommended by the American Library Association, the national accrediting agency for libraries and the professional organization for librarians.

Library Gift Policy

The Miller F. Whittaker Library accepts gifts and contributions for the development of its collection. The Library is particularly interested in receiving books and other materials that fill existing gaps and that supports the University’s curriculum. It is the library's policy to treat gifts as new acquisitions and evaluate them by the same standards applied to new purchases.

Guidelines for Donating Materials

Please note that the Library shares your concern that students and faculty actually will use your gift material. Therefore, if you are considering donating to the Miller F. Whittaker Library, it is a good idea to first contact the Collection Organization Department to inquire about the usefulness of your proposed gift.


The Library acknowledges each gift with a letter; however, the Library does not provide donors with an itemized list of the materials donated.


Books and other library materials given to the Miller F. Whittaker Library become the property of the Library and are added to our collection only if they support the research and teaching mission of the University. The Library reserves the right to discard or donate remaining materials that do not support the mission of the Library.

Tax Issues 

All material gifts to the Miller F. Whittaker Library are considered non-cash charitable donations. Due to legal restrictions, the Library is unable to provide appraisals. If you are considering a tax deduction and wish to have your collection appraised, it is advised that you do so prior to donating to the Library.                                                          


Library's Website and Digital Collections

The Miller F. Whittaker Library has maintained a website since 1998 to provide access to information about the library, the library’s resources and services, and contact information for library departments and staff.  In addition, the library’s website serves as the portal for accessing the library’s online catalog for searching the library's collection as well as the library’s paid subscription web databases for research.  The website also links to several free online resources that patrons may find useful.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Digital Collections - a digital collection of documents and photos celebrating the founding of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) sponsored by the HBCU Library Alliance.  This site includes photographs of SC State University Presidents.

Physical Collection

The Miller F. Whittaker Library’s physical collection consists of the reference collection located on the first floor, a circulating collection located in the second/third floor stacks, the Special Collection located in the first floor compact shelving, the Federal/State Government Documents Collection located in the first floor compact shelving, and the Historical Collection and Archives located on the third floor.

The library's book collection is organized according to the Library of Congress (LC) Classification System; state government documents collection is organized according to the State Documents Classification System; and federal government documents collection is organized according to the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) Classification System.

Reference Collection

The reference collection consists of general and subject specific bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, literary criticisms, etc.

Other resources housed in the reference area include print journals, magazines, and  newspapers.  The library is a partial depository for a select group of federal documents distributed by the Government Printing Office and a sub-depository for state publications.  The microform collection housed in the reference area includes ERIC documents, journals, magazines, and newspapers as well as the Atlanta University Black Culture Collection and African American Dissertation Collection.

General Circulating Collection

The general circulating collection consists of books that support the departmental curriculums on campus in the School of Business; the College of Education, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the College of Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technology; and the College of Graduate and Professional Studies. 

SC State Historical Collection and Archives

The SC State Historical Collection consists of materials relating to alumni and other associates of the school.  The collection includes annual reports, minutes, correspondences, speeches, brochures, campus publications, books, newspapers, college clippings, programs, oral history, tapes, specialized artifacts, and theses/dissertations written by students and faculty.

Special Collection

The Special Collection (Spec. C) consists of books written by or about African Americans.  The collection highlights the African American experience and culture.