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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

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

Mrs. Debbie C. Gramling
Reference and Information Specialist
Coordinator of Electronic Retrieval Services - (803) 536-8647

Ms. Dianne Sumpter 
Library Technical Assistant (Microfilms) - (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. We are here to assist you in locating general information, books, journal articles, or other type of information.  However, please note that it is not the responsibility of the Reference Department to provide extensive research for faculty and staff.  We are here to provide you 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.  You will be notified if your question cannot be answered through the online service.

Photocopying Services

There are two coin-operated copying machines for copying print materials are 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 library staff, as well as the University administrators and students.  Input concerning collection development by community members is also welcome.  While input from faculty, administrators, student, and community members is sought, indeed 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 and state depository systems lie with the Government documents/Reference Librarian; for web-based or electronic resources, with the Electronic Resources Librarian.

Responsibilities for the Faculty

Faculty members are responsible for submitting requests for library maters which support the curricular 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 forward them to the 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.

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 prioritized and will be accepted via e-mail or marked publishers catalogs, and book jobbers.  They should be sent to the librarian who is the liaison to that department or sent to the Acquisitions/Reference Librarian.  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 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 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; and cost in relation to anticipated benefit.  The use of reviews in selection journals and standard selection journals and standard selection sources is recommended during the selection process.


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

Library Gift Policy

The Miller F. Whittaker Library accepts gifts and contributions for the development of its collection. We are particularly interested in receiving books and other materials that fill existing gaps and that supports the University’s curriculum. It is our 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, we encourage you first to 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. We will add these gifts 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 does 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.                                                          


The Miller F. Whittaker Library’s collection consists of the reference collection located on the first floor, a circulating collection located in the second and third floor stacks, the Special Collection of books written by and about African Americans located on the lower level, and the Historical and 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 College of Business and Applied Professional Sciences; the College of Education, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the College of Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Technology; and the School of Graduate 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 and 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.

Online Reference Resources

The 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.