The University at Albany Libraries' collection development mission is to identify, select, manage and preserve collections that support the University's curriculum and the research needs of its faculty, students, and staff. This mission includes facilitating access to electronic and other resources and services that may or may not be physically located in, or owned by, the Libraries.

Selectivity and response to specific needs have become the hallmarks of collection building for the 21st century. The philosophy of collection development that centered on acquiring everything available on locally important subjects has given way to the realization that no research library, now matter how well endowed, can obtain comprehensive coverage of multiple disciplines and specializations. Factors that have contributed to this change at the University at Albany include the growing number of print and electronic publications, cost escalations that far exceed increases in appropriations for library materials, the broadening of academic program and degree offerings, and the demand for the increased research capability and convenience that electronic indexes and full text databases provide.

The University at Albany Libraries Collection Development Policy includes detailed descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of the University Libraries' bibliographers and a list of bibliographers and their subject assignments. It also identifies the selection principles they apply as they build the Libraries' collections. The Policy's subject statements describe the breadth and depth of subject coverage and the levels of collecting currently in effect for the University's academic departments, programs and schools. Taken as a whole the Policy is a reflection of the University's curriculum and research priorities. It documents how and why we build our collections and provides a vehicle for communicating this information to the University community.