Collection Development Policies

General Policy


Colorado State University Libraries is committed to the University’s mission to support excellence in teaching and research by providing collections that enable undergraduate and graduate students and faculty to have access to resources and information they need for education, scholarship, and research.

The University also has a strong land grant mission to the citizens of Colorado which the Libraries recognizes and supports through its access policies, unique local collections, and specific core subject collections (e.g. veterinary medicine, agriculture, water). In its collections, the Libraries strives to maintain these historic strengths as well as future needs. The Libraries recognizes the need for and supports interdisciplinary and subject-specific resources in different formats and incorporates technologies that deliver these resources to users in a timely and convenient manner. The Libraries collects material in all appropriate formats, including print, electronic, and multimedia. The Libraries prefers to collect in electronic formats when feasible. As new technologies and practices emerge, the Libraries will adapt the collection strategies to those which will best serve its users.

In all collection decisions, the Libraries supports freedom of inquiry and adheres to the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights.

Collections Budget and Sustainability

As the Libraries builds its collections, it will seek to maximize access to information. The budget for collections is set through the University’s annual budget process for Education and General (E&G) funds. Programmatic needs and inflation are major factors that affect the budget. The Libraries participates in departmental and university reviews of library resources and makes recommendations for the funding needed to support materials for new programs and accreditation reviews.

The economic climate and how it affects the long-term sustainability of purchasing needed collections present significant challenges for academic libraries.

The Libraries continues to explore new models for maintaining critical journal collections and monographs. Although scholarly materials are often published in more than one format, the libraries will usually acquire material in one format only.

For monographs, the Libraries is switching to more patron-driven models both for print and for electronic books. The traditional book purchase plan has been replaced with a catalog record discovery process where researchers/patrons can request specific books be purchased. For journals, the Libraries is emphasizing online, full text resources whenever possible.

Consortia and Collaboration

For both books and journals, the Libraries is committed to working cooperatively to support and expand access to resources through our state, regional, and national library consortia. Through various partnerships and memberships we participate in cooperative purchases, collection access and sharing, and pursue scholarly communication and publishing efforts. Major affiliations are the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries and Greater Western Library Alliance. The Libraries is also a member of the Association of Research Libraries, a membership organization of 126 research libraries in North America. “ARL influences the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations.”

The Libraries actively supplements its collection though the use of a comprehensive and expeditious Interlibrary Loan service, incorporating local document delivery if the user wishes.

Open Access

In addition, the Libraries supports new publishing initiatives such as Open Access that intend to make access to research more affordable and available. Current efforts include providing direct access to open access resources primarily offered by the Directory of Open Access in the Libraries online catalog and supporting author fees for certain publishers. Open Access Guide.

Ongoing Assessment of Collections:

The Libraries periodically assesses the collection for accuracy and suitability of materials.
Ongoing use studies help inform decisions to retain or deselect both print and electronic collections. For print collections, the Libraries analyzes circulation statistics and on-site pickup statistics. To provide valid use statistics for electronic resources, the Libraries applies national standards for counting use of full text content.

Preservation of the Collections:

The Libraries serves as the steward of the University’s collections and strives to ensure the long-lasting availability of the intellectual content of its collection through various programs.

  • Preservation decisions for damaged or worn materials are made within the context of the Libraries’ collection development policy, balancing costs, condition of the materials, value to the general collection, special historical and scholarly value of the physical materials, usage data, and resource availability. Preservation of print materials is based on established priorities for replacement or conservation treatment with preference given to replacement by an equivalent electronic resource.
  • For the electronic resources in the Institutional Repository, the Libraries strives toward a data management policy following best practices and standards.
  • For electronic resources, the Libraries strives to protect archival rights when negotiating licenses and contracts for electronic resources. Additionally, CSUL is a member of national library/publisher initiatives to preserve electronic resources, including : Portico, LOCKSS, and CLOCKSS.

Specific Policies, Statements, and Collections:

Gifts: The Libraries does not accept gifts of books, journals, magazines, and other materials except those that might enhance our unique holdings in Special Collections and Archives. The Libraries still welcomes gifts written by CSU faculty. For further information, please see: Policy for Accepting Gifts.

Textbook Statement: The Libraries generally do not purchase for our collections: textbooks, solutions manuals, or monographs specifically intended for work in a classroom environment. Books that are used primarily as a textbook are often: Structured with homework questions at the end of each chapter, Include titles such as Principles of [subject], Essential of [subject], or Textbook of [subject], Include wording with 3rd edition, 4th edition, etc. as part of the title or sub-title, or are Linked with online/e-book supplementary material that only one person is allowed to access.

University Archives: This collection includes historic photographs, faculty and alumni papers, and the records of Colorado State University. Two major archive collections are 1) Water Resources Archive and 2) Agriculture and Natural Resources Archive. For policies regarding the libraries’ rare books and unique monographs, please refer to the Special Collections Development Policy. For archival materials falling outside of the areas of water, agriculture, natural resources or CSU history please refer to the Manuscripts Collection Development Policy.

Local Digital Collections: The Libraries has created a digital repository, Mountain Scholar, to house the scholarship, research, and creative works of CSU faculty, students and academic staff. The institutional repository includes CSU electronic theses and dissertations published from 2010 to the present. The Libraries also participates in a shared services initiative with the University of Colorado.

Federal and State Documents: The Libraries is a selective depository for Federal publications and is moving toward a virtual collection through Documents Without Shelves Service which provides full text links to electronic publications offered by the Government Printing Office. The Government Publications Policy provides additional information  The Libraries acquires all titles published by the State of Colorado, including CSU imprints.

Veterinary Medicine: CSU is one of 28 universities with an accredited Veterinary Program, and collecting materials to support this unique collection is a library priority. Print and online materials which support veterinary medicine and biomedical science are located at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital Library, Morgan Library, and accessible online.

Whom to Contact regarding Collections:

Collection Strategies work with specific subject areas and campus colleges and departments to assess collection needs for both students and faculty in each area. They provide ongoing assessment of the collections including analysis for university new program reviews and accreditation reviews.

The Collections staff coordinates major decisions, budgeting, and purchasing.


Randyn Heisserer-Miller
Head of Collection Strategies

Agriculture and Natural Resources Archive 
Digital Collection Development Policy
Manuscripts Collection Development Policy
Special Collections Collection Development Policy
University Archives Collection Development Policy
Water Resources Archive Collection Development Policy

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