Collection Development Policy



The Collection Development Policy directs the acquisition, assessment, de-selection, and cancelation decisions made regarding the resources managed by the University Library at Cal State LA. The Collection Strategies Committee (CSC) uses the Collection Development Policy, along with usage data, the campus's curriculum, research, and teaching needs, to guide acquisition and subscription decisions. The University Library utilizes a patron-driven and evidence-based model to select, acquire, and license materials. Use of this model entails that items are typically acquired at the point of need or “just in time,” rather than based on anticipated needs or “just in case.” This model enables the Library to collect resources needed by the campus in an effective and economical manner, respond to the changing scholarly publishing landscape, and support the University Library’s mission to provide innovative and responsive services with transparent decision making.



California State University, Los Angeles is a Hispanic Serving Institution with a rich history of serving generations of historically underrepresented students. Cal State LA is the location of the first Chicano Studies department (1968) and the second oldest Black Studies department (1967) in the United States, and students of color have comprised a majority of enrollment since 1972. The University Library honors and respects our institution’s history of racial justice activism and our diverse students, faculty, and staff. The University Library seeks to enhance access to resources and collections that include and support their culture and values. The University Library acknowledges that libraries are not politically neutral spaces and that personnel are expected to protect and ensure unfettered equal access to information. By utilizing a Collection Development Policy, which incorporates evidence-based strategies, library acquisitions and subscriptions are driven by the needs and interests of our campus community and are designed to be responsive to current learning, teaching, and research on campus.



The University Library governs collection development strategies and decisions with a core set of guiding principles. These principles are aligned with both the Strategic Directions of the University Library and the Mission, Vision, and Values of Cal State LA. The University Library’s commitment to these principles supports us in building a learner-centered collection that meets the instruction, learning, research, creative activities, community engagement, and career development resources needs of the Cal State LA community.

The University Library:

  • Collects scholarly works that directly support current instruction and curriculum needs, prioritizing faculty and student requests.
  • Collects scholarly works created by or pertaining to the Cal State, Los Angeles and East LA communities to support engaged learning within our local community.
  • Commits to building an inclusive collection that reflects the social and cultural lives of our community, and prioritizes collection of works that reflect viewpoints and experiences underrepresented in the dominant US culture including works by authors of color, women, refugees and immigrants, and LGBTQ+ authors.
  • Prefers electronic format when it best meets the needs of users and disciplines, and when it is available and cost-effective.
  • Prefers ownership over access when possible and not cost prohibitive.
  • Utilizes data and analytics to identify existing collection strengths, fill gaps, and identify areas for de-selection.
  • Recognizes the value of working locally and with a network of partner institutions to preserve access to scholarly materials.
  • Promotes and provides financial and other direct support for sustainable alternative publishing models aimed at reforming the current publishing landscape and making Cal State LA scholarly content freely available.
  • Selects, acquires, and preserves special collections of particular interest to the campus.


The Cal State LA Library collects materials in all formats and of all levels to support undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty. The University Library continues to collect both physical and electronic materials for the foreseeable future. Many of the electronic materials (i.e., journals, books, videos, datasets, and more) are made available through subscriptions or one-time purchases. In general, materials are acquired in English, but exceptions are made in support of the foreign language, ethnic studies, and area studies curricula and Special Collections and Archives, and include materials in Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and French, and some indigenous languages.

Followings are the descriptions of the primary types of materials the Library collects as well as general selection criteria for each.

  • Books are collected in both print and electronic formats. Hardback copies of books are preferred over paperback copies, and paperbacks should only be purchased when hardbacks are unavailable or cost prohibitive. Electronic books (eBooks) may be purchased individually or licensed in packages. E-Books are often preferred as they serve all users regardless of time and location, allow for multiple simultaneous users, and can be cost-saving compared to print versions, which have costs for long-term storage and shelving. The following are used when considering the type of formats to purchase:
    • The needs of specific programs, departments, or colleges, such as History and Mathematics that may prefer physical format.
    • The availability of electronic format and whether the cost is prohibitive.
    • Whether the book is primarily visual (e.g., graphic novels) or will be used primarily as an object (e.g., art books, board books, touch books).
  • Board and Card Games are purchased to support student well-being, stimulate student creativity, create a welcoming space, and reinforce content taught within the university curriculum. Games may be added to the collection if they cover topics and content connected to the curriculum or student interests.
  • Electronic Databases consist of journal packages, vendor aggregator index and abstract databases, non-article-based databases, streaming media, primary sources, and data sets/statistics that require a computer or mobile device to access.
  • Graphic Novels and Comics are a growing area of the Library’s collection and are used in the curriculum. Within departments such as English and Liberal Studies, some courses are dedicated to the study of pulp, popular, and non-traditional literature. Graphic novels and comics may also be of interest to students who participate in creative programming events at the Library including events hosted by One Campus, One Book.
  • Children’s Literature Collection is a small collection of fiction and nonfiction titles for children and young adults. The collection consists of a large number of award-winning children’s books, many with an emphasis on diversity and multiculturalism (e.g., Coretta Scott King Book Award, Pura Belpré Award).
  • Newspapers consist of current and historical news content that are locally and regionally focused, as well as nationally and internationally significant. Subscriptions are preferred for current content, and one-time purchases are desirable for historical content if not cost-prohibitive. They may be licensed individually or as a package. Web-based platform access is preferred when possible.
  • Open Education Resources (OER) are supported by the University Library as a part of the CSU-wide Affordable Learning Solutions initiative to support student success and faculty scholarship. Librarians are available to support faculty in locating and creating high-quality OER materials that not only promote faculty scholarship but also support student success by reducing the burden of costly textbooks. OER resources should meet the following criteria:
    • Be licensed under an open license such as Creative Commons.
    • Be relevant to a discipline, course, assignment, and/or instructor.
  • Scholarly Journals are a critical component of the Library’s collection, as they contain important and current research in academic disciplines. The Library subscribes to scholarly journals as packages or individually from both journal publishers and vendor aggregators. Scholarly journals represent a large ongoing budgetary commitment and renewals commonly involve price increases. Consequently, requests for new journal subscriptions must be carefully evaluated.
    • Print versions of journals will only be licensed/purchased if an electronic version is unavailable or if the electronic format is cost-prohibitive.
    • If the library subscribes to a journal via a subscription package or vendor aggregator, and the journal has significant turn-aways due to an embargo or other circumstances, the library may license an individual subscription if it is not cost-prohibitive.
  • Textbooks are understood to be books published for the academic market, often in multiple editions, and usually including pedagogical features such as exercises, learning objectives, and supplementary materials. As a general policy, the University Library does not typically acquire copies of textbooks using general collection funds due to their cost and ephemeral nature, and because publishers typically do not license electronic textbooks for institutional use. To support student success, the Library collects a limited number of textbooks to place on reserve with the Affordable Learning Solutions (ALS) program, especially at the beginning of a semester when textbooks may be unavailable or on backorder.
    • Faculty are encouraged to replace high cost textbooks and other course materials with low-cost and open educational resources. Librarians are available to identify these alternatives.
    • Exceptions are determined by the Collection Strategies Committee in consultation with liaison librarians when accounting for factors such as high usage, cost, and the availability of a DRM free e-textbook. Additional exceptions to this rule are noted below.
      • When a particular textbook is recognized as a classic by experts in a field.
      • When a textbook presents material in a way which is especially valuable, and the usefulness outlives the related course offering.
      • When other kinds of monograph publications in a curricular area are sparse.
      • When a textbook addresses an important subject not represented in the collection.
      • When a textbook is required for accreditation.
  • Videos/Audios are acquired both as physical DVDs/Audio CDs and as streaming media. Streaming media are the preferred format, and they may be licensed individually or in packages.
  • Special Collections and Archives consist of unpublished works such as personal papers and manuscripts, institutional and university records, photographs, and ephemera, as well as published materials that may include books, periodicals, newspapers, and posters. Emphasis is placed on distinctive collections and materials relating to Cal State LA, local, regional, and state history, and the contributions of immigrants and communities of color in the region.

Not Included

The Library does not generally add the items listed below to the collection. Additionally, the Library may decline to accept materials that would require extensive processing or storage space and exist in unsupported formats.

  • Outdated formats and content, such as older textbooks.
  • Popular magazines.
  • Books in poor condition or book content that does not meet the instructional and research goals of the University.
  • Books on tape.
  • Materials created with the sole intention of demeaning any community or culture.
  • Consumable materials, including lab manuals and workbooks.
  • Duplicates of items that the Library already owns, unless an extra copy would be useful for heavily circulated items or as a replacement for a worn copy.


The Library increases and preserves access to scholarly materials by collaborating locally and nationally with partner institutions. Current programs are listed below.

  • CSU+ enables Cal State LA faculty, students, and staff to borrow books the Library does not own from other CSU libraries.
  • Interlibrary Loan (ILL) via ILLiad enables Cal State LA faculty, students, and staff to request books beyond the CSU and articles that the Library does not own.
  • Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC) is used for electronic resources subscriptions and shared print partnerships.
  • CSU System-Wide Digital Library Content (SDLC) manages the CSU system-wide Electronic Core Collection (ECC) and electronic opt-in resources on behalf of all CSU campuses.
  • CSU Unified Library Management System (ULMS) manages the CSU shared library services platform and discovery system to support the collaborative management, discovery, and delivery of library resources across the CSU.
  • The Online Archive of California enables Cal State LA faculty, students, and the general public to access guides and information regarding the collections held at University Special Collections and Archives.


The Library's collection will be reviewed by liaison librarians on an ongoing basis to ensure that the collection is meeting the current curriculum, learning, teaching, and research needs of faculty and students. Materials that no longer meet the needs of the university community may be removed from the collection. Subject librarians are responsible for tracking research trends and working with faculty in their assigned departments to ensure the library’s collection is maintained in a manner that meets the needs of students and faculty. Subscriptions of electronic resources represent an ongoing financial commitment that increases annually with inflation. The Library should regularly evaluate each resource based on its scholarly value, its usefulness to support teaching and learning, and relative to its cost. Many factors inform the review, including but not limited to cost, usage, content overlap, relevance to the curriculum, and the need for accreditation.

Physical materials are considered for deselection based on the following criteria.

  • Currency
    • The content of the Library materials should be accurate and up to date. Materials that are superseded by newer, revised or updated editions may be deselected. The Library takes into consideration faculty and students whose scholarship and teaching require the use of historical texts in areas such as history, literature, philosophy, psychology, mathematics, education, and other areas.
  • Usage
    • Physical material with low or no circulation and electronic resources with low use statistics may be a factor in deselection decisions.
  • Physical Condition
    • Materials that are badly deteriorated or damaged and beyond reasonable preservation efforts will be deselected. Consideration for replacement will be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Duplicates & Overlaps
    • The Library may remove duplicate copies of materials. Subject librarians take into consideration the need to have more than one copy of a title, especially for materials that are heavily used or are a part of a college-wide program.
    • The Library may cancel journal titles that have significant content overlap and/or have between six- to twelve-month embargos if the subscription cost is prohibitive.
  • Completeness
    • Materials that are part of a multi-volume set of which the Library does not have all volumes may be deselected.
  • Uniqueness
    • The Library does not deselect materials that are sole titles owned by the Library, and not available in any of the other regional and CSU libraries.
  • Format Obsolescence
    • Materials in obsolete formats and poor condition may be deselected if the content is available elsewhere.
  • Safety
    • Physical materials that are contaminated and deemed unsafe (i.e., bio-hazardous) will be removed from circulation either temporarily or until they meet scientific guidelines that indicate they are no longer biohazardous; or permanently, if they cannot be made safe.


Replacement copies or similar titles may be sought for materials that have evidence of consistent usage but are deemed missing, stolen, lost, or damaged beyond repair.



The University Library welcomes selected gifts of books, archives, manuscripts, and other materials that directly support teaching, learning, and research initiatives at Cal State LA.

The Library does not generally add the items listed below to the collection. Additionally, the Library may decline to accept materials that would require extensive processing and storage or if the format is not supported by the Library.

  • Outdated formats, including textbooks.
  • Popular magazines.
  • Books in poor condition or with content that does not meet the instructional and research goals of the University.
  • Materials were created with the sole intention of demeaning any community or culture.
  • Consumable materials, including lab manuals and workbooks.

Duplicates of items that the library already owns, unless an extra copy would be useful for heavily circulated items or as a replacement for a worn copy.