Statement of Collection Development Best Practices


The purpose of this document is to provide an overarching framework for the Alliance and its member libraries as they engage in both individual and consortial collection development decision-making. While each member library tailors its own collection development and access strategies to best meet local institutional needs, the document complements local policies and practices based on the recognition of the value of Alliance shared collections and work.

Guiding Principles

These Guiding Principles are intended to be both proactive and responsive to the changing landscape of shared collections and to build upon the Alliance’s existing strengths as it fulfills its mission and strategic agenda.

The Alliance and its member libraries will:

  • Employ user-centered collection development policies and practices that consider impact at the Alliance collective level and the ability to share among the membership.
  • Increase the breadth of materials by weighing the need for local access against the benefit of a diverse collection.
  • Engage in shared stewardship of existing resources to preserve access for future scholarship.
  • Promote, expose, and preserve unique local collections and collection areas of strength as those add value to both institutional and collaborative collections.
  • Make decisions for collective access to content in physical and electronic formats that take into consideration:
    • representation of content across different disciplines;
    • availability of content via existing platforms or formats;
    • support for core academic programs
    • supports geographical differences among the membership.
  • Leverage funds to maximize return on investment that benefits all members.
  • Provide data and assessment information to inform consortial collection development decisions.
  • Support sustainable alternative publishing models that improve the current publishing landscape and promote access to scholarly content.
  • Advocate for resource licensing agreements that facilitate and ensure free content sharing through known library practices (ILL) and content discovery among its membership and beyond.


Current phase: Phase 5: Approved

Written by: Shared Content Team

Approved by: Council approved on March 11, 2016

Last updated: March 24, 2016

Nature of last update: Phase change (Council approval with minor changes)

Document History: Drafted by Shared Content Team (2015), Reviewed by Shared Content Representatives (2015-2016), Minor Revisions by Shared Content Team (2016), Approved by Board (2016), Approved by Council (2016).