Library Collection Development Guidelines


These guidelines are intended to inform all users about the selection of materials by the Library. The Library strives to build a collection of excellent resources that balances the needs of the University community with the finite and fluctuating nature of our fiscal resources.


These guidelines apply to all materials owned by and housed in the Library, and electronic resources to which the Library subscribes/provides access. It covers all formats (print, electronic, microform, and audio-visual) in the collections of the James A. Gibson Library, including the Map, Data, & GIS Library and Archives & Special Collections.


The Library normally acquires materials in languages other than English to support the language curricula, reference or specific need of academic departments.

Multiple Copies

In general, the Library does not intentionally purchase multiple copies.


Please refer to the James A. Gibson Library’s Donations Policy for details.


Please refer to Brock University’s Copyright webpage for details.

Open Access

The Library is committed to the widest possible dissemination of scholarly knowledge. To that end, and as funds permit, the Library will make efforts to support a variety of open access projects. Please refer to the James A. Gibson Library’s Open Access webpage for details.

Selection Process

Librarians and faculty cooperate to develop the Library’s collection. Recommendations for the purchase of materials are accepted from faculty, staff and students, but final responsibility for the selection of library resources lies with Liaison Librarians.

Decisions regarding acquisition of all resources are based on the priorities and criteria stated above.

Requests for new electronic resources (excluding individually purchased ebooks) require a completed Information Resource evaluation form. The Library’s Collections Working Group assesses these requests based on criteria listed above, as well as the following:


  • Support of academic curriculum
  • Support of general library use
  • Support of the research interests of faculty and students
  • Support of the collection development process
  • Cross-disciplinary usefulness.


Availability of material via other Ontario libraries, electronic full text databases, etc.

Budget considerations

The Library applies consistent practices and priorities in the expenditure of its resources through analysis of use, demand, relevancy and format.

Type of Material


  • Ebooks
    • Access to ebooks is provided via multiple platforms. Ebooks may be purchased via package deals, individually, or on approval. The Library strives to provide access to electronic collections; however, timely provision of relevant content is the first consideration. Multiple user access to a title is preferred, although we do not eliminate single user access titles from the selection process. Platforms used must be AODA-compliant.
  • Out-of-Print (O/P)
    • When required, the Library will attempt to find used or out-of-print books if new books are not available.
  • Textbooks
    • Books used as textbooks for courses are not typically acquired for the collection; the decision to purchase rests with individual Liaison Librarians. Students are expected to purchase their own copies of textbooks listed in course outlines.

Serials and Electronic Resources

  • “Serials” includes: print and online journal subscriptions and full-text electronic databases. Decisions to add new resources are made on an individual basis and submitted to the Library’s Collections Working Group. The Library acquires a limited number of hardcopy newspapers covering local and national news. Access to a wide number of regional, national and international newspapers are available full-text through several online databases and indexes.
  • Back files of periodicals are considered on a title-by-title basis and as funds become available.

Sound and Video Resources

  • Physical media is purchased on a title-by-title basis.
  • Online streaming is either available via existing library subscriptions, or is sought on a title-by-title basis.

Format of Materials

Materials may be available in more than one format (e.g. print, electronic, audio). Factors taken into consideration in deciding which format will be purchased and / or retained are:

  • amount of use/demand
  • ease of use
  • cost
  • preservation
  • illustrative and colour content of original
  • availability to remote/simultaneous users
  • frequency of updating.

Other Materials

Theses and Dissertations

Most Brock University graduate theses can be found online via the Brock University Digital Repository. For more information about finding theses, including print and those produced outside of Brock, please read the FAQ.

Government Documents

Please refer to the Government and Legal Information webpage for more information.


Microfilm and microfiche are purchased if the material is only available in those formats.


In general, electronic reference material is the preferred format.

Other Collections

Archives & Special Collections

Please refer to the Archives & Special Collections webpage for more information.

Map, Data and GIS Collection

Please refer to the Maps, Data & GIS webpage for more information.

Reserve Collection (Course Readings)

The Reserve Collection is comprised of high-demand materials selected by instructors to support current courses and other heavily used items on short-term loan.

Digital Repository

The Digital Repository contains a collection of unique items created by members of the Brock University community, which includes:

  • Major research papers
  • Theses
  • Publications and manuscripts
  • Environmental Sustainability Research Centre materials
  • Archives & Special Collections.

Popular Reading Collection

The Library maintains a small circulating collection of popular reading material. It is updated frequently and intended for leisure reading.

Interlibrary Loans

The Library provides subsidized access to resources not currently purchased by the Library through its Interlibrary loan service (RACER).


These guidelines exist to ensure that Brock University Library’s collections are managed in a way that ensures effective support for the University’s current teaching and research activities, and maximizes effective use of the Library’s physical facilities. Evidence-based weeding / de-selection is an essential component of the Library’s collection management responsibilities.

Weeding helps to:

  • ensure that the overall collection is relevant and useful to users
  • eliminate outdated and worn-out materials
  • maximize shelf and floor space
  • make materials easier to find.

Weeding is done:

  • on a day-to-day basis, as staff handle/process materials
  • annually in the summer
  • on a project basis, as needed.