The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to communicate the University Libraries’ priorities and principles for building its collections to the University at Albany community, and to provide guidance to those responsible for supporting the collections.
The University Libraries’ Collection Development Policy augments the University’s mission of academic excellence by creating and maintaining collections that support the current and future needs for learning, teaching, and research for the community of undergraduate, graduate students, faculty and staff.
How We Build Our Collections
The collection budget is primarily funded by an allocation within the University’s budget. The collection budget is also supplemented by several endowments and special funds. In recent years, the Libraries’ purchasing power has diminished due to cost escalations for library materials that have far exceeded increases in the Libraries’ budget. However, the Libraries endeavor to support instruction and research needs.
Responsibility for Collection Development
Collection development falls under the purview of Subject Librarians, who use their expertise to select materials. Subject librarians collaborate with the faculty, consider students’ learning needs, and strive to be responsive to individual and constituent groups. Faculty and students are encouraged to submit recommendations for additions to the collection. Subject librarians evaluate recommendations to ensure that they meet the University’s teaching, research, and student success goals, as well as the guidelines in this policy.
Subject librarians select materials to refine and expand the Libraries’ collections, including books, databases, journals, government publications, video, data, newspapers, reference materials, and more. Formats may be print or digital. Materials collected may change depending upon the evolving teaching and research needs of the University. Subject librarians do not purchase textbooks for classroom use.
To keep the collection relevant and useful, and to make the most of limited space, subject librarians periodically evaluate the collection. Low-use items may be moved to the Libraries’ storage facility, while duplicate copies, damaged materials, and material no longer relevant to University at Albany programs may be withdrawn from the collection. Subject librarians reserve the right to have the final say in all decisions regarding the selection and deselection of materials.
Diversity, Accessibility, Equity, and Inclusion in Collections
The Libraries are committed to developing a collection which represents the University’s diverse community, academic programs, and research needs. Subject librarians accomplish this by building collections that promote a variety of ideas and viewpoints. To that end, resources that represent a diversity of culture, class, race, sex, gender, ability, and national origin are sought. Subject librarians strive to collect materials written by authors from traditionally underrepresented populations and highlight perspectives outside of traditional hegemonic social structures. This includes, but is not limited to, collecting materials from authors who are queer, female, disabled, transnational, Indigenous, or racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse. Subject librarians also consider the specificities of non-English collections and works from other countries in support of a curriculum that prepares students to be globally engaged citizens. The Libraries support the ACRL Statement on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and the Print Collecting Imperative.
The Libraries aim to provide equitable access to our collections in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Subject librarians prioritize formats that are accessible remotely and readable with assistive technology. Where certain formats are inaccessible, library staff will work with patrons to provide reasonable accommodation.
Resource Sharing, Consortia, and Cooperative Collection Development
The Libraries participate in resource sharing, cooperative collection development agreements, and consortia to expand resource access to our communities. At the state level, the Libraries participate in SUNY Libraries Consortium (SLC) and NOVELNY, which provide state-wide access to specific databases. The Libraries partner with the Capital District Library Council (CDLC), which provides the Direct Access Program (DAP) and a Coordinated Collection Development (CDC) program. The Libraries continually explore new resource sharing and consortia partnerships.
The Libraries promote and support open access (OA) as a path to affordability, sustainability, and equity. The Libraries’ search tool allows discoverability of OA resources. Scholars Archive, the University at Albany’s institutional repository, collects, preserves, and provides open access to the research, creative works, and publications created by University at Albany faculty, students, and staff. The Libraries support and encourage Open Educational Resources (OER). Subject librarians work closely with campus partners to educate and encourage faculty and students to share and archive their research in a repository, and develop OER materials in OA venues. When appropriate and advantageous, the collections budget may be applied to activities, initiatives, or institutional memberships that advance OA goals.