About Us

Mission Statement

The University Library, in conjunction with the PNW mission and Information Services strategic plan, is dedicated to creating a safe space for our diverse community that promotes an innovative approach to intellectual growth, information literacy, scholarly research, access to information resources, and assists our students, faculty, and staff in their roles as life-long information users and creators.

To serve the needs of our diverse community, keeping an emphasis on information literacy.

To develop collections and facilitate access to information resources using the most innovative and cost-effective methods possible with a focus on open access and open resource materials.

To help lead the university in user-based initiatives, such as retention, with professional and scholarly guidance.

The Purdue University Northwest Library provides licensed online access to high-quality scholarly information and continues to actively manage and cultivate a valuable print collection.  It includes more than one million items including: 

  • 204,028 print books
  • 279,665 digital/electronic books
  • 7988 (physical) and 109 (digital) media items
  • Approximately 693,000 microfiche and 10,000 boxes of microfilm
  • 138,979 online and 26,759 print volumes (1664 physical titles) of periodicals
  • 210 database subscriptions
  • 212,016 physical media
  • 26,759 physical journals
  • 418,753 electronic media
  • 703,000 Microforms

University librarians teach students and faculty to identify and use a full range of electronic and print resources for their research. Librarians offer both face-to-face and telephone reference assistance, as well as online consultations via a variety of platforms, including email, chat, Zoom, and WebEx.

Customized instruction sessions are provided on request to foster information literacy skills and improve overall student success. Supplemental online guides are developed by librarians for individual subjects or courses to reinforce basic research skills. Librarians work with program administrators and individual instructors to collaborate on meeting students at their point of need. In many cases liaison librarians and course library guides are embedded directly into individual course sites within Brightspace, our course management system. This helps to open a direct line of communication with students and remind them that librarian assistance is only a click away.

In response to the pandemic, the library team has worked swiftly to adapt to the university’s increasing distance education needs. Video tutorials and additional online guides have been developed to help bridge any gaps between physical and virtual classroom experiences. Collection development has focused more on eBooks and other digital purchases that are accessible to students from any location.
In addition, resources have been gathered to aid students in navigating and appraising the abundance of information and misinformation surrounding the global situation.

The university archives not only house the papers of current and retired faculty and staff, but we keep and maintain the institutional knowledge of Purdue University Calumet, Purdue University North Central, and Purdue University Northwest and makes this information accessible online.  We have over 10,000 historic photographs cataloged, and over 35,000 pages of historic documents digitized and open to the public. We also maintain an online museum, a database of the universities news releases, and an audio-visual library of our history.

The University Library hosts comfortable, student-focused study spaces and technology at both our locations. Three computer lab/classrooms, and one presentation room allow students to have areas to prep for classes. In addition to books, the library lends Chromebooks and PC laptops for students to use temporarily or for the semester.   The library has over 70 open PC computers and 10 Macs for general usage, along with four scanners, and two binding machines for student projects.

Collection Development Policy

The Purdue Northwest Library collection promotes excellence in the learning, teaching, and research of Purdue University Northwest by providing quality resources and information.

The Collection Development Policy is to provide guidance to librarians and faculty responsible for material selection. This policy defines the subjects, formats, and quality of materials that best serve the faculty, staff, and students of PNW.

The policy ensures that the collection remains both current and pertinent to the constantly changing academic environment.

Collection development guiding principles – The Library adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom as outlined in the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association.   It is the responsibility of the Library to ensure that different points of view are represented in the collection.

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.   These policies from the ALA Bill of Rights and The Freedom to Read Statement serve as guiding principles for the library’s collection development policy.   Appearance of any resource does not mean that the library advocates or endorses the ideas found in that resource.   Academic Freedom is also respected because freedom of access to recorded knowledge is essential to teaching, learning, and research in a democracy.

The obligation of the PNW Library is to provide a full range of materials on a subject, however unpopular, controversial, or apparently incorrect, shall not be infringed.   The principles of academic freedom shall apply to the acquisition and preservation of such materials and also to those who provide and those who use those resources.

  1. Each discipline has a subject-specific librarian who will manage selection efforts. Each liaison will communicate with their assigned departments/disciplines to make collection decisions based on the strengths and weaknesses of the collection and the needs of their areas.
  2. Department/Faculty members are encouraged to request items or resources. Such requests can be made online. The Collection Development Coordinator has the responsibility to review the purchase suggestions and make purchase decisions.
  3. The Collection Development Coordinator and other librarians are responsible for working toward achieving a balanced collection and selecting reference material, general titles, and other resources which meet the objectives of the Library.
  4. Other members of the Library’s staff and patrons (students, staff, college administrators, and alumni) are encouraged to recommend titles for consideration.
  5. The Director of University Library has final responsibility for all material and resource selections.

To serve the largest percentage of the community, first priority of the Library’s collections is given to those materials that can aid and assist the undergraduate and graduate coursework and research. Items will be given priority for purchasing as follows:

  • Undergraduate coursework
  • Undergraduate research
  • Graduate coursework
  • Graduate research
  • Faculty course/program development
  • Faculty research
  • General reference use

Librarians rely upon the library approval plans, publishers’ catalogs, professional journals, subject bibliographies, promotional materials, and purchase suggestions to build a high quality and timely collection.

The Library strives to select the best materials from a variety of subject areas. The prime consideration governing our choice of material is its relevance to University curriculum. The librarians also evaluate currency, quality, popular demand, cost and availability of funding, and strength or weakness of existing holdings when selecting materials. Other considerations may be applicable in specific subject areas. Selectors should choose materials that will build a well-rounded collection which includes all viewpoints and opinions, and which will meet patrons’ needs.


The Library’s media collections are selected based on their ability to support the curriculum. The same criteria used to select books are applied to media.


In general, the Library does not collect textbooks for PNW courses. The exceptions to this policy are if a textbook is the only and best source of information in a specific subject area or if a textbook meet needs of curriculum development.

Faculty Author Books

  1. The Library collects books written, edited, or with contributions by Purdue University Northwest faculty when the books become available.
  2. In general, the Library obtains two copies of each faculty-authored book. One copy is placed in the Library Archives, and another copy is added to the regular collection or the faculty author shelf at the Library for circulation.

Popular Titles

The Library collects only a limited number of fiction and popular titles to supplement the academic programs. These items are chosen based on the quality of the work (if they are award winners, written by established authors, or are of significant literary value).


While it is the policy of the Library not to duplicate materials between the campus Library’s collections, duplication will be considered on a case by case basis, particularly if a book is in high demand by the faculty, staff, and students.

Missing, Lost or Damaged Items

Missing or lost items will be traced for up to one month before being confirmed lost. Lost, missing, and damaged items will be replaced with consideration for worth of the item, cost, availability, and patron demand. High demand items may be replaced while the search for the missing item continues.


  1. The PNW Library accepts special gifts of books, archives, manuscript collections, and other materials which enhance and enrich the current collections. Proposed gifts should be directed to the Director of University Library for referral to Acquisitions, the Archivist, or the Collection Development Coordinator.
  2. Gifts of materials that are accepted by the PNW Library become the property of the Library. Gifts are reviewed by the subject librarians for inclusion in the Library’s collection based on the Library’s selection guidelines. Items that do not fall within the scope of the Library may be sent to other libraries in need, or discarded.
  3. The Director of University Library has final responsibility for all gift selections.


  1. As information, classes offered, and curriculum change over time, materials in the Library’s collections may become irrelevant, outdated, or damaged. To ensure that the collections meet current needs of the PNW community and are sufficiently housed in the Library’s physical spaces, the Library’s collection will be regularly weeded. Each subject librarian is responsible for the weeding of his/her respective areas of the collections. The Collection Development Coordinator will coordinate weeding projects and review all items before they are withdrawn from the collection when needed. When weeding, input may be solicited from faculty members when necessary.
  2.  Items can be considered for withdrawal based on the following conditions:
  • Outdated content
  • Material no longer supports the curriculum
  • Badly damaged items (replaced if necessary)
  • Books not checked out in the last 15 years
  • Material is superseded by new materials
  • Older editions are to be automatically withdrawn if a new edition is added
  • Multiple copies

Resources in the University Libraries may be challenged by students, faculty and staff of Purdue University Northwest and those persons who are residents of the state of Indiana.  A challenge to a resource in the University Libraries must be based on the failure of that resource to fall within the Libraries’ selection and collection development policies, including the commitment to intellectual freedom.  When challenging an item, the patron may request the library take one of two actions;

(1) removal of an item because it is inappropriate, or

(2) the addition of a source to balance the collection by providing alternative views.

The Libraries may agree to take either action or no action at all.

Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval from the Library Bill of Rights.


Those persons wishing to challenge a resource in the University Library will be asked to complete a Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources using the form below.   The completed form will be submitted to the Library Director; the Director will acknowledge receipt of the form via letter/email.   The Request will then be considered by a library committee which shall consist of at the minimum the Library Director, Collection Development Librarian, and Library Liaison for the subject area of the resource challenged.

Additionally, other librarians, faculty members and library staff may be asked to participate in the review process.  If the review committee cannot come to a clear recommendation about the challenged resource the Library Director will make the final decision.  The person making the challenge will be notified in writing by the Library Director of that decision and any action to be taken.  The appeals process….

All complaints about materials to staff members shall be reported to the Library Director, whether received by telephone, letter, or in personal conversation.

The director shall contact the complainant to discuss the complaint and attempt to resolve it informally by explaining the philosophy and goals of the library and the nature of the materials selection process.

If the complaint is not resolved informally, the complainant shall be supplied with information on the library’s materials selection policy, and on the procedure for handling objections. This will include a printed or online form which must be completed and returned before further consideration will be given to the complaint.

If the formal request for reconsideration has not been received by the director within two weeks, it shall be considered closed.

If the request is returned, the reasons for selection of the specific work shall be re-established by the appropriate library staff.

Questioned materials shall remain on the shelves or display pending a final decision.

The library director, having received a completed objection form, will bring the issue before the PNW Library Committee and librarians for their advice.

The library director shall notify the complainant of the decision in writing.

If the complainant is still not satisfied, he or she may ask the library director to present an appeal to the Library Committee, which shall make a final determination of the issue.

See the Challenge Form for Challenges to Library Resources.