Collection Development Program, Policies, and Guidelines


  1. The Library of the University of Connecticut
  2. Scope of the Collection
  3. Access versus Ownership
  4. Resource Sharing and Cooperative Collection Development
  5. Licensing Online Resources
  6. Collections Budget
  7. Responsibility for Collection Development
  8. General Criteria for Collection Development
  9. Material Type and Format
  10. Donated Materials
  11. Deselection
  12. Archives & Special Collections
  13. Professional School Libraries
    1. The Library of the University of Connecticut The library of the University of Connecticut develops, maintains, and makes discoverable robust and unique collections that support the research and learning needs of the UConn community and beyond. The University Library serves all of the undergraduate and graduate programs on the main campus, the four regional campuses, and the UConn Health campus. While the UConn Law Library is administratively separate from the University Library, the University Library and the Law Library maintain a strong affiliation, particularly in the areas of collection development and access. With 3.9 million print volumes and well over 110,000 electronic and print journals, the libraries of the University of Connecticut form the most comprehensive public research collection in the state.

      The University Library maintains nine physical locations: four on the Storrs campus, one at each of the four regional campuses, and one at the UConn Health campus. The Homer Babbidge Library, the flagship location of the University Library, is in the center of the Storrs campus and serves both undergraduate and graduate programs. The Storrs campus is also home to the Music & Dramatic Arts Library in the Fine Arts complex, the Pharmacy Library in the Pharmacy/Biology building, and the University Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Each of the University’s four regional campuses — Avery Point, Hartford, Stamford, and Waterbury — maintains a library dedicated to serving the programs at those sites. Regional campus libraries hold undergraduate-focused core collections as well as specialized research collections tailored to the needs of graduate programs: Marine Biology at Avery Point; Business, Public Policy, Education, and Social Work at Hartford; Business at Stamford; and Education, Nursing, and Engineering at Waterbury. The Storrs and regional campus locations of the he University Library shares a single catalog and each of these libraries serve as a gateway to the collection as a whole. The UConn Health location of the University Library maintains a separate catalog reflecting the specialized needs of the UConn Health community.

      This document applies specifically to the Storrs and regional locations of the University Library (heretofore referred to as “the Library”) and outlines the principles and guidelines used to develop the collections at these locations.

    2. Scope of the Collection The Library develops and maintains collections that inspire discovery and the creation of new knowledge by providing resources that support and enhance research and scholarship, undergraduate and graduate education, and emerging areas of interdisciplinary interest at the University of Connecticut. The depth of collection development varies by discipline and is driven by the scholarship and teaching priorities of University’s academic programs.

      The Library recognizes that free access to ideas and freedom of expression are fundamental to research and education in a democratic society. The Library is committed to providing a balanced collection representing a diversity of perspectives. The collection will not exclude any materials on the basis of their creators’ and/or publishers’ race, color, ethnicity, religious creed, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical or mental abilities.

    3. Access versus Ownership   The Library is responsible for acquiring, curating, and preserving enduring research collections and ensuring their availability for current and future scholarship. Decisions about which materials to purchase for permanent retention are balanced against the need to provide access to a broad array of information resources with immediate scholarly and research value. Research strengths, academic priorities, and the information needs of students inform decisions about when to collect for permanent retention, when to lease or borrow materials, and when to rely on openly available repositories.

    4. Resource Sharing and Cooperative Collection Development   The Library’s collection is developed to meet the needs of the UConn community while also functioning as a node in networks of collective collections developed by libraries partnering at regional, national, and international levels. To this end, the Library participates in resource sharing collaborations that expand access to collections by mutual lending agreements. Among these collaborations is the Eastern Academic Scholars Trust (EAST), a print retention partnership of over 50 college and university libraries in the region. The mission of EAST is to ensure that faculty and students in the northeast United States have access to the collective scholarly record of print monographs, journals, and serials in the participating libraries and that this record is preserved.

    5. Licensing Online Resources The library of the University of Connecticut negotiates licenses as “One UConn,” including the Storrs campus libraries, regional campus libraries, the Health library, and the Law library. When negotiating license agreements for online resources, the Library refrains from purchasing resources where use restrictions would seriously impede research or intellectual freedom, or be impossible to enforce. The library strives to ensure access is granted to the fullest extent possible and that the UConn Board of Trustees’ approval, signature authority, and contract requirements are all met.

      Additionally, the library negotiates licenses to be in compliance with the State of Connecticut’s contract requirements. Resources with licenses that do not include the State of Connecticut’s required contract provisions cannot be acquired.

    6. Collections Budget The Library’s collection allocations are used to acquire ownership of or access to monographs, media, journals, databases, and data and datasets; support interlibrary borrowing and lending; enable the discovery of print and online materials worldwide; steward the University’s scholarly output; and secure participation in collaborative repositories that safeguard the long term preservation of both print and digital resources. The Library also collaborates with schools and departments to co-finance and co-sponsor specialized resources that benefit our research community.

    7. Responsibility for Collection Development The Library’s Collections Steering Committee has administrative oversight for the collections. It sets collection development policies, makes broad collection budget allocations, and regularly reviews these allocations for strategic adjustment. Selection/retention decisions for high-cost resources also fall within the purview of the Collections Steering Committee.

      The Library’s Research Services unit coordinates the assessment and development of collections and discovery tools of cross-disciplinary nature, while individual subject librarians have responsibility for assessing and developing collections and information sources relating to their assigned academic disciplines. Fund allocations are divided among academic disciplines based on the size of the program, department, school or area, the nature of material needed, the record of expenditures in relation to previous years, and the existence or presence of new initiatives and/or faculty. 

    8. General Criteria for Collection Development The Library works with users and consortia to determine which resources should be acquired or retained and employ the following general criteria when evaluating resources to be added to the general collections:

      1. Relevance to education and research programs: Applicability to faculty and graduate students’ research interests, current curricular needs, and research trends in academic disciplines.
      2.  Scope and depth of the existing collection: Breadth and historic retention of the Library’s collection in the subject area.
      3. Quality: Level of scholarship and creativity; long term relevance of content and format; reputation of the author, publisher, contributors, and editorial board; and availability and importance of illustrations and bibliographies.
      4. Currency and timeliness: Rapidity with which new information significantly advances or supersedes earlier scholarship in the subject area.
      5. Discoverability, usability, and accessibility: Ability of users to locate materials in scholarly databases and free search engines, intuitiveness of the interface design, and accessibility of online materials for users with disabilities.
      6. Cost: Expense of acquiring, processing, cataloging, shelving, and preserving materials, both commercially sold and free.
      7. Renewal rates: Subscribed resources with renewal rates of four percent or more are subject to review. The review will assess the basis for the significant cost increase and may result in cancellation.
      8. Language and country of origin: Optimal language and perspective for specific programmatic research and education needs.
      9. Contribution to open scholarly communication: The product positively impacts open access to research and scholarship; the information is or will soon become readily accessible to the world community.
    9. Material Type and Format The Library collects materials in a variety of standard formats, selecting the format best suited for the content at hand and the funding available. Electronic-preferred materials include newspapers, journals, indexes and abstracts, reference texts, government documents, and items in the public domain. When selecting e-resources, the Library favors those that allow unlimited simultaneous use, are DRM-free, accessible to all members of the UConn community, functionally reliable and user-friendly. As a general rule, the Library does not acquire the following:

      • Textbooks: The Library does not purchase resources that have been published as textbooks.
      • Course Reserve Materials: The Library does not purchase or acquire materials for course reserves. Instructors are encouraged to draw course materials from the Library’s physical or online collections or from the many open education resources now readily available. While the Library does not purchase or acquire materials that have been published as textbooks or other curricular materials to meet the needs of a particular course, instructors may supply such materials to the course reserve program from their own collections.
      • Outdated Formats: The Library does not acquire, either by purchase or gift, materials in formats requiring specialized equipment, facilities, or utilizing playing devices no longer manufactured or serviced.
      • Streaming or Physical Media that:
        • Is readily available from a mass market retailer;.
        • Would receive primary use as a component of course curriculum; and/or
        • Does not include rights for access in perpetuity.
      • Multiple Copies and Replacements: The Library does not purchase multiple copies of items for a single location, except for instances in which the item is in very high demand. Titles in the collection reported missing are replaced as promptly as possible if needed for teaching or research. Replacements for other lost or damaged materials will be considered on the basis of past use, currency of information, relevance to collecting goals, consortial retention commitments, and cost.
      • Single Issues or Incomplete Runs of Journals
    10. Donated Materials The Library accepts donated materials that enhance our collections by supporting identified research and teaching needs. The following criteria are used to evaluate donated materials: scope of the collection, physical condition, and duplication. Donated materials become the property of the University of Connecticut upon acceptance of these materials. Donated materials that are not added to the collection are donated to other libraries, sold, or discarded. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the disposition of all donated materials are at the sole discretion of the Library. The Library cannot provide donors with a monetary appraisal of donated materials.

    11. Deselection To maintain a vibrant and relevant collection, the Library employs deselection, also known as collection weeding. Periodic evaluation of the relevance of resources is an essential element of collection development that ensures the Library’s materials remain useful and accessible. The following criteria are used when evaluating items for deselection in the general collections:

      • Research, teaching, and learning value
      • Retention commitments in shared stewardship initiatives
      • Physical condition
      • Discoverability and usability
      • Circulation rate
      • Currency of information
      • Relevance to curriculum
      • Availability of newer editions
      • Duplication
      • Increase in cost

      The disposition of all deselected materials is at the sole discretion of the Library. 

    12. Archives & Special Collections Archives & Special Collections is the University of Connecticut’s public repository for manuscripts, rare books, photographs, maps, drawings, illustrations, newspapers, periodicals, sound recordings, film, and born-digital materials. In setting collecting priorities, Archives & Special Collections seeks materials that build regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized collections, add depth or rare and unique materials to its holdings, and support academic programs. Archives & Special Collections also preserves the official records and the institutional memory of the University of Connecticut.

      Collections are acquired by staff primarily by donation, in accordance with Archives & Special Collections’ collection development policy, University of Connecticut Records Retention policies, and terms outlined in its Deed of Gift documentation. Collection materials that are regularly purchased, either with library monies or endowment funds, include special collections specimens in fine or near fine condition, reference materials and tools, and, selectively, manuscripts, according to collecting priorities and as they become available by accredited vendors in the marketplace.

    13. Professional School Libraries The Thomas J. Meskill Law Library in Hartford provides comprehensive, current, and relevant print and digital collections that support the School’s students, faculty, and staff in the advancement of legal scholarship, legal education, and legal research. The Law Library maintains separate policies and guidelines regarding its collection development program:

      The Lyman Maynard Stowe Library in Farmington collects materials in support of all three areas of the UConn Health mission academics, clinical care and research. The library supports the professional degree programs at the School of Medicine and the School of Dental Medicine, as well as the Graduate School, which awards advanced degrees in biomedical science, dental science, and public health. The Health Library maintains separate policies and guidelines regarding its collection development program.