Collection Development Policy

York is a large, research-intensive university with a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching. The library collections housed in the W.P. Scott Library, Steacie Science and Engineering Library, Peter F. Bronfman Business Library, and Leslie Frost Library are a reflection of the size, complexity, and diversity of the university. These libraries support the work of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, Schulich School of Business, Faculty of Education, Lassonde School of Engineering, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Faculty of Health, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Faculty of Science, and Glendon College (southern Ontario’s only bilingual campus). To build useful, lasting collections for these faculties, schools, and departments is the Libraries’ goal. This general statement outlines key factors that inform our decision-making.

The Libraries’ collections reflect the university. In general, the following factors inform our collection-building practices: the size of the student body in a particular department or program; cost of journals and books in that subject or discipline; reputation or uniqueness of our collection in that subject or discipline; and requirement for special formats. The differing needs of undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty are also addressed, as the specificity and depth of scholarly investigation intensifies at each stage. While strict allocations by FTE (student full time equivalent) might be easy, it would not be equitable.

York University Libraries strives to balance the responsibility of building legacy print collections with serving the immediate needs of each generation of scholars and students. Pockets of the legacy print collection that have great breadth and depth are those that reflect the Canadian context and those that support current York strengths in teaching and research. We place some items in campus storage facilities, but ensure that they are retrievable on request. We provide electronic access to selected titles that are vital to the curriculum, in high demand, lend themselves well to the format (e.g. reference books), or some combination of the above.

Special formats are also essential to the Libraries’ collections. The Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections, Sound and Moving Image Library, and Map Library  sites detail the scope, use, and preservation of their special formats.

The Libraries participates in consortial agreements so that the greatest number of online articles, books, and non-textual materials can be made available to our community while constraining costs. These agreements (negotiated with provincial and national bodies) increase the breadth and depth of all the partners’ collections, though they may not always entirely reflect the curriculum and research at York. The Libraries also supports initiatives that increase the awareness, use, and collection of open access books and journals. Open access aligns with the library profession’s long-standing principle of equitable access to publications.

In general, the York University Libraries’ collection:

  1. Adheres to a balance between books, journals, and a large variety of media that reflect the current patterns of publication in the arts and humanities, social sciences, sciences, and relevant professional programs.
  2. Gives priority to academic and cultural content in print, electronic, and other formats by, about, and for Canadians.
  3. Reflects the main languages used in the scholarly discourse of the department, school or faculty. This generally means English in Scott, Steacie, and Bronfman, and French and English in Frost. Materials in other languages are collected specifically to support language and literature programs.
  4. Supports open access.
  5. Limits the number of textbooks acquired and, generally, houses them in reserves.
  6. Limits the redundancy of electronic resources (whether full-text or indexing and abstracting) by systematic content analysis.

For further information about this policy, please contact: Adam Taves, Associate Dean, Collections and Research, taves@yorku.ca, ext 55601.

Adopted: October 2017.