General collection policy


The University of Nevada, Reno University Libraries build and maintain collections that support the teaching, learning, and research activities of the faculty, staff, and students in the university community. As a land grant institution, the University Libraries are also committed to providing access to resources that enhance the educational interests of the people of Nevada. This policy describes the collection philosophy that drives acquisitions and collections maintenance decisions. Its purpose is to guide library staff in making collections decisions and to serve as a communication tool for identifying the scope of the collections.


Approval plans

University Libraries maintain an approval profile with an academic book vendor that identifies electronic and print book titles that align with the needs of our academic programs. Titles that fit the criteria established in the profile are sent to the library to be added to the collections. Titles that need to be reviewed for potential inclusion are sent to subject librarians for review. The profile criteria are created by collections staff and reviewed by subject librarians.

Patron-driven acquisitions

Patron-driven acquisition models allow the University Libraries to provide immediate access to selected resources that are then automatically purchased for the collections after significant use has been determined. Direct purchase requests from patrons are also considered for the collections based on curricular and research needs. Faculty and students are encouraged to request a purchase through their subject librarian.

Subject librarian selection

Subject librarians select resources for the collections including books, journals, media, and databases based on the general collecting guidelines focusing on curricular and research needs in their disciplines. Faculty and students are encouraged to discuss journal or database subscription requests with their subject librarian who will then review requests based on the collecting guidelines and collections maintenance strategies. The Collections Workgroup reviews all database subscription purchase requests.

General collecting guidelines

University Libraries consider many criteria before acquiring resources for the collections. The framework for the collections is built by intellectual freedom guidelines from the American Library Association which includes the Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement, Freedom to View Statement, and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Intellectual Freedom Principles. The main focus for the collections is supporting the university curriculum for academic programs and the research initiatives of faculty, staff, and students. University Libraries strive to include a diverse range of physical and electronic resources to serve the varied needs and interests of the campus community; inclusion of any resource does not mean that the library advocates or endorses the ideas found in that resource. Library staff consider the following general collecting guidelines when adding resources to the collections:

Cost Considerations

Annual subscription costs, anticipated annual inflation, and annual hosting fees are reviewed for journal, database, and online resource requests.


Multiple formats are considered, but electronic is the preferred format for most books, journals, and media resources.


English is the main language for the collections. Additional languages are collected based on their relevance to the curriculum and university community. University Libraries collections staff are unable to accommodate all languages.


For journal and database subscriptions, IP authentication is the preferred access model. Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs) must be available for any potential online resource purchases.


University Libraries maintain the general collections through various strategies:

Annual Subscriptions

Subscription renewals for journals and databases are reviewed annually. Decisions to acquire or cancel journal or database subscriptions are guided by subject librarians and the Collections Workgroup. Subscription cancellations may be required due to budget cuts or high cost-per-use. Library staff consider the following criteria when acquiring or cancelling subscriptions:

  • Current curriculum needs
  • Overlap with other resources
  • Patron usage data
  • Cost-per-use
  • Annual subscription price

Deaccession of materials

In order to maintain the collection, library staff may remove outdated or irrelevant materials to allow patrons to efficiently navigate the collection. University Libraries do not suppress or remove information that individuals may find controversial or inappropriate.

Library staff consider the following criteria when removing materials from the collection:

  • Patron usage data
  • Publication date
  • Damaged or poor condition
  • Availability of updated or new editions
  • Availability of electronic or updated formats
  • Current curriculum needs

Beyond the scope of the collections

University Libraries do not collect the following materials:

  • Textbooks as standard works of study
  • Consumable educational content such as workbooks
  • Single user interest materials such as specific data sets or data collection instruments

Last revised: November 20, 2023