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Submitted by libwww on Wed, 10/21/2020 - 21:57

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.

Collection Maintenance

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while duplicate copies, damaged materials, and material no longer relevant to University at Albany programs may be withdrawn from the collection.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.

Censorship and Intellectual Freedom Challenges 

Materials in the University at Albany Libraries are selected to support the research, teaching and learning needs of the university community. It is crucial for an academic library to provide access to materials that contribute to scholarly inquiry, research and intellectual exploration, even if they challenge prevailing beliefs. Consequently, many different points of view are represented in the collection. Individuals have diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and sensitivities, and what may be acceptable to one person may be offensive or objectionable to another. It is important to consider the context in which potentially objectionable or offensive materials are presented. Materials that include potentially objectionable or offensive content within the context of emerging scholarship, critical analysis, historical perspective, or artistic expression may have legitimate scholarly or educational value. The presence of potentially objectionable or offensive materials in the collection should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the viewpoints contained within these materials.

The University at Albany Libraries will consider opinions regarding materials in its collection, but will never remove or censor any holding strictly based upon an individual’s or group’s demand or request to do so. Items will also not be withdrawn from the collections based on allegations of false, misleading, pejorative, or potentially harmful information.  

A person who wishes to request the reconsideration of library material must file a formal written request for reconsideration using this library-provided form. The request will be reviewed by the appropriate subject librarian and the Director of the Division of Academic Success. Together, these librarians will review the material under reconsideration using the Libraries’ Collection Development Policy and the policies and principles set out in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom To Read Statement, The Freedom to View Statement, and the Association of College and Research Libraries’ statement on Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries. They will develop a recommendation that will be submitted to the Dean of Libraries, who will make the final decision.

The form must be completed in full. The person requesting reconsideration will be notified by email that the form has been received within 24 hours, and will then be notified in writing of the decision regarding the material under question by the Dean of Libraries within 30 days of receipt of the form. Material will remain in the collection during the review process. All requests for reconsideration will be reported to the American Library Association and are a matter of public record. 

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.

Open Access

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.

Gifts in Kind

We are currently unable to accept gifts in kind.


Special Collections and Archives

Recommend A Purchase

The University at Albany Libraries are a Selective Depository for U.S. Government Publications.


About This Policy

For questions about this policy, please contact Angela Hackstadt, Interim Coordinator of Collection Development,​​​​​​​.

Policy Last Updated