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North Central Association Rosalee McReynolds 13 Feb 1996 16:59 UTC

This message is in response to the query posted by Wendie Edwards on
February 7th regarding the North Central Association.

        The North Central Association is one of the regional accrediting
organizations that evaluates (usually every ten years) the performance and
educational standards of universities, colleges, and schools in the U.S.
This accreditation basically "legitimizes" an institution, and its loss
would have devastating consequences.  For that reason, most universities
and colleges carefully prepare for the accrediting visits by preparing
elaborate self-studies, a process that can easily take one to two years.
During these self-studies, institutions often set goals for themselves,
and that may be when the Viterbo administration decided that the college's
library needed a minimum of 100,000 volumes.

       Accrediting associations do not mandate volumes counts for
libraries, however, they can make recommendations to individual
institutions for the improvement of library collections and services.  It
may be that such a recommendation was made during the last NCA visit to
Viterbo, and that the college administration responded by setting the
100,000 volume goal.  If so, progress toward this goal will be measured
when the NCA pays its next visit.

       Ironically, this arbitrary goal may result in the retention of
outdated material that is of no benefit to the students.  Also, it is
highly unlikely that the college would lose its accreditation simply
because of weaknesses in its library.  It certainly wouldn't be lost
because the 100,000 volume goal was not met.

       There must be a report of the last NCA visit to Viterbo, and
hopefully, there is a copy in the library.

Rosalee McReynolds
serials librarian
Loyola University, New Orleans