Collection Development Policy

The Yale-NUS College Library collects, preserves, and provides access to information resources in support of instruction, research, and creative activity. This policy informs students, faculty, staff and interested stakeholders about the Library’s collection strategies and communicates general guidelines that will be used for acquisition and withdrawal of materials and resources.

Ethics and Principles

The College Library supports the freedom to access and read materials regardless of bias or controversy. The Library collects materials that reflect the full range of human thought, within collection parameters matched to its mission and that of the College. The librarians and staff strive to provide the highest quality service and access to all patrons. Library access should be barrier-free and efficient, whether online or in person. The Library respects personal privacy rights and intellectual property rights.

The collection will be developed in accordance with internationally accepted standards. These standards include, but are not limited to the following:

Goals for Collection Development and Management

The Library:

  • Establishes policies and procedures for efficient and effective management of the collection
  • Seeks suggestions from academic divisions, faculty, students and the community it serves
  • Spends available funds for acquisitions judiciously
  • Actively pursues cooperative and coordinated collection development with NUS Libraries and other libraries
  • Makes responsible curatorial decisions regarding replacement, withdrawal, reformatting, and preservation of materials

Allocation of Funds for Acquisitions – Funds for the acquisition of library materials are allocated across all academic disciplines in accordance with the need to support instruction, research, and creative activity.  A number of factors are taken into consideration in allocating funds. These include past history of expenditures; history of price increases; curriculum; degree programs and levels; number of faculty; number of students; level of library use; and demonstrated need for library resources.

Approval/Gathering Plans – In addition to direct orders from publishers and vendors, the library may also acquire materials for its collection through approval/gathering plans. Through these plans, books are automatically sent to the library based on a carefully specified profile. The library also receives notification of materials “excluded” from the profile which may also be ordered by request. Librarians monitor the plans in their respective subject areas and are responsible for amending and adjusting the profile specifications.

Binding preference – When books are available in multiple bindings, quality paper covers will be the default choice.  Other bindings will be considered in this order of preference: hardcovers, library bindings, mass-market paper, others.

Collaboration – The library actively seeks collaborative arrangements when they will benefit the library and its community of users. These include resource sharing, interlibrary loan, reciprocal borrowing agreements, cooperative collection development, and consortial purchasing and licensing agreements.  The library will collaborate extensively with the NUS Libraries to ensure efficiency and to maximize the types and amount of resources available.

Collection Assessment and Evaluation – The library periodically assesses and evaluates the library collection using qualitative and quantitative measures to ensure that they keep pace with the changing information needs of library users. These may include materials expenditures, volume/title counts, use surveys, accreditation reports, comparisons with other library collections, and other formal and informal feedback from campus users.

Deselection – In order to maintain quality collections and provide space for new library materials, library collections are continually evaluated for items that are outdated, superseded, duplicated, damaged, or no longer supportive of the College’s programs and curricula. Exceptions are made for materials that have particular historical or institutional significance. Deselection by subject librarians occurs on a continuing basis. Information on major changes to the collection is provided to academic officers and divisions, institutional committees, and through other appropriate channels.

Printed Monographs – Books in print form will be an important component of the collection.

Electronic Resources – In providing materials for its community of users, the library also relies heavily on online electronic resources. Electronic resources include eBooks, databases, serial subscriptions, online videos, datasets and other forms.  The criteria for evaluating electronic resources includes:

  • Quality of content
  • Level and reliability of remote access
  • Ability to browse and search contents by keyword
  • Ease of printing, extracting, manipulating and citing content
  • Amount of content included (full-image, cover-to-cover, complete content is preferred)
  • Licensing conditions and terms of use
  • Long-term access, archiving, and ownership of content
  • Cost and technical considerations


Formats – Materials in any and all formats are considered for acquisition by the library, but generally only the single most appropriate format will be acquired or retained.

Gifts – Donations of materials to the library are welcomed and will be evaluated for addition to the collection.  Unless otherwise agreed in advance, authority to retain, discard or reassign gift materials rests with the College Librarian.

Interlibrary Borrowing – The collections owned by the Yale-NUS and NUS Libraries will be enhanced by items borrowed from local and international collections. Speed of access will be the guiding principle.  The library may purchase items requested for interlibrary borrowing in lieu of a loan when cost and anticipated use warrant.

Languages – English is the primary language for the library’s collection. Materials in other languages are acquired selectively in support of the foreign languages curriculum and other subject areas with a specific need for foreign language materials.

Mending, Repair, and Preservation – Materials that have been damaged are evaluated for potential mending, repair, and preservation. In addition to using in-house mending, repairs, and preservation techniques, items may also be sent for binding or rebinding, or placed in protective sleeves, covers, or boxes. Damaged materials that cannot be repaired will be discarded, or if appropriate, replacements will be sought. Significant fragile or damaged materials may be considered for transfer to closed shelves, where they can be better protected and will not circulate.

Multiple Copies – The library normally acquires and retains only one copy of any title. Multiple copies are acquired only when there is a demonstrated need. Requests for items already held in the NUS Libraries print or electronic collections may be added to the Yale-NUS College Library collection after due consideration.

Newspapers – The library may subscribe to local and significant international newspapers in print form for the convenience of library users.  Printed back issues are not retained.

Objections –  Library users who object to items in the collection will be encouraged to share their concerns with the appropriate subject librarian and the College Librarian. Concerns will be evaluated in the context of international standards and principles and the collection development policy of the Library.


Popular materials

Popular and recreational collections may be developed to support extracurricular interests and the Residential College environment, but general collections will not be a primary focus.

Reference Collection – Electronic reference materials are preferred and are selected on the same criteria as other materials. Reference items are reviewed and evaluated for currency, comprehensiveness, frequency of use, and duplication.

Replacements – The library does not automatically replace all missing, lost, or damaged materials. Such materials are replaced depending on existing coverage in the collection, cost, availability, previous use, projected future use, and availability of better or more up-to-date materials. For items that have been lost or damaged by a library user, a replacement fee and a processing fee will be charged, whether or not the item in question is replaced.

Selection – Primary responsibility for evaluation and selection of materials for the library’s collection rests with the Librarians. Materials may be requested by any interested faculty, staff, students, or community users. Recommendations are reviewed in the context of existing collection policies and availability of funds. Criteria used in selecting materials for the library’s collection include:

  • Support of academic programs or research
  • Recommendations of faculty, staff, and students
  • Reviews in professional journals and other reviewing resources
  • Reputation of the author(s) or editor(s)
  • Reputation of the publisher
  • Cost

Serials – Serials are publications in any medium which are issued in successive parts and do not have a set date for ceasing publication. Serials include professional journals, newspapers, magazines, annuals, indexing and abstracting services, numbered monographic series, and electronic databases accessed by subscription. Because serials represent an ongoing expense to the library, requests for new serials are carefully evaluated. If available, online electronic versions of serials are preferred over print because of easier access, lower subscription costs, and savings in processing, binding, and storage.  Serial publications already available or which become available in one or more of the library’s full-text electronic databases, will not be added or retained unless a specific need is demonstrated.

Special Collection and Archives – The Library will collect materials relevant to the institutional history of Yale-NUS College and preserve them as a foundation for a College Archives.  Special Collections may be established in the future, if strong curricular or research needs warrant.  Archival and Special Collections will be housed separately from the library’s general collections and have their own collection policies.

Specialized Research Materials – Specialized research-level materials will be purchased as they relate to the curriculum, and faculty and student research interests, particularly in areas where local collections are not available.  The College Library will carefully consider and attempt to accommodate all faculty requests for materials that support their research.  Such requests are actively sought and most will be fulfilled in a timely and reasonable manner. Policy for Specialized Research Materials.

Subject Selection – The Library places priority on subject matter that directly supports the liberal arts and sciences curriculum. High priority is also placed on material for research interests that are broad and on-going.  Subjects related to courses of study offered at Yale-NUS College that are unique or differentiated from the subject coverage of NUS Libraries will be given greater emphasis.

Textbooks – Present policy is to purchase one copy of all required texts, and one copy of all optional texts and additional readings.  An exception is made for large classes, where two books are purchased for classes exceeding 50 students.

Theses and Dissertations – The library will not acquire theses and dissertations unless a specific need is identified.

Yale-NUS College Faculty Collection – The Library seeks to obtain copies of all monographs written or edited by faculty members. Faculty publications are identified as such in the library catalog and may be displayed separately from the general collection.