Collection development policy

The University of Toronto Scarborough Collection Development Policy

The purpose of the collection development policy is twofold: it helps library staff to meet collection goals as they relate to the mission of the library, and it informs the library’s clientele about the principles by which materials are selected for inclusion.

Library Mission

In order to enrich the research, teaching and learning experiences of UTSC faculty and students, the library will champion collaborative environments with innovative learning tools and mobilize unique scholarly collections critical for sustainable pedagogical platforms.

Library Clientele

The University of Toronto Scarborough is a close-knit campus of the University of Toronto, and the UTSC Library supports all of its 237 programs, including those at the Master’s and Ph.D levels. The library supports the research interests and curricular needs of its primary clientele: undergraduate and graduate students, its faculty and staff. Additional clientele include students and faculty members of both the St. George and University of Toronto Mississauga campuses. UTSC Library also provides service to alumni, local and visiting researchers and members of the public. Please see the Tcard Office for additional information. To learn more about the University of Toronto Scarborough Community.


The University of Toronto Scarborough Library specifically supports the clientele of the University of Toronto Scarborough campus. It houses materials that specifically support the academic and research programs at UTSC. In addition, the library provides a wide range of reference, research, and instruction services.

It contains a total of 295,805 volumes including print serials, print journals, microfiche pieces, maps, slides, sound recordings, and films and videos.  UTSC Library is also a part of the larger University of Toronto system, which ranks consistently in the top five in the “volumes held” in libraries category of the Association of Research Libraries annual statistics. UTSC Library clientele have access to the entire University of Toronto collection, which includes more than 15 million print items and thousands of databases housing millions of full-text articles and citations.  The University of Toronto Scarborough Library supports open access to scholarly communication by contributing to the University of Toronto’s institutional research repository, T-Space, and by promoting its open journal and open conference services.

 Access to the collections is provided through the online public access catalogue, and is also provided through a mobile app.

The Library’s Total Seating is 746, which includes computer terminals and seating in study rooms. There are 15 study rooms available, which include a Quiet and Ultra Quiet room, and there is access to 131 computer terminals.

Intellectual Freedom

The University of Toronto Scarborough Library supports the Canadian Library Association’s Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom, the  Canadian Association of Research Libraries Statement of Freedom of Expression in Research Libraries and the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. The CLA’s position statement, approved by executive council in 1974 and amended in 1983 and 1985, states that “all persons in Canada have the fundamental right, as embodied in the nation's Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and to express their thoughts publicly. This right to intellectual freedom, under the law, is essential to the health and development of Canadian society.” The UTSC Library, as all libraries, has a “basic responsibility for the development and maintenance of intellectual freedom.” UTSC library will therefore guarantee and facilitate access to all expressions of knowledge and intellectual activity. All efforts will be made to ensure that selection will include and “make available the widest variety of materials,” including those that are considered “unconventional, unpopular, or unacceptable.” Library staff members are responsible for upholding these principles. All efforts will be made to ensure that collections will maintain materials that represent as many points of view on a subject as possible, including on subjects considered controversial.

Purpose and Goals of the Collection

Collection Development is one of the library’s key services that supports the mission of informing and enriching research, teaching and learning across UTSC.

  1. Purpose of Collection Development

    Collection Development is the process of building useful, balanced collections of both print and electronic materials over time, within a set budget, based on assessed, ongoing information needs of the library's clientele. It also includes the creation of selection criteriaresource sharing, and replacement of items, and routine de-selection.

     b.    Fulfill the University’s mission

The Library collects materials that support the curricular and research needs of UTSC’S undergraduate and graduate programs and that of students and faculty members. As no one library owns all desired resources, UTSC Library takes advantage of its relationship with other University of Toronto libraries in order to supply materials to its clients, as well as maintaining Interlibrary Loan arrangements with other libraries world-wide.

 Selection Activities & Responsibilities

The library is responsible for developing its collection through a combination of selection practices, including approval plans, individual title selection, requests from the UTSC community, and collaboration with all University of Toronto Libraries. Librarians hold the ultimate responsibility for developing and maintaining the library’s collection based on their knowledge of the collection, expertise with collection tools and resources, and understanding of the information and resource needs of the library’s community of users.  Selection processes are cooperative and can involve consultation with faculty and departments.

a.     Librarian Collection Responsibilities

Librarians serve as subject liaisons to various departments across UTSC. In this role they are responsible for developing familiarity with the curriculum of their programs and with the relevant parts of the collection that serve their subject areas. Librarians also consult with faculty to stay aware of important changes to curriculum or faculty research.

A significant portion of the library’s collection is developed through the use of an approval plan containing profiles that are tailored to many programs of the university. Librarians review the books that arrive on approval and make profile adjustments, as needed. Title by title selection supplements the approval plan, with librarians selecting books outside of the profile parameters and to meet the more specific needs of the collection and the university.

b.    Faculty Collection Involvement

Faculty members are encouraged to participate in collection development through regular consultation with their subject liaison librarian. This contribution to collection development is valuable for the in-depth knowledge that faculty members have of their specific subject areas and broad discipline, as well as their curriculum and research needs. The subject liaison librarian is the contact person for faculty to voice any questions or concerns they may have about the library’s collection and services, or to make suggestions.

Selection Guidelines and Criteria for the Collection

The library’s collection is developed to support and enhance the instructional and research activities and goals of the University of Toronto Scarborough. The collection is organized according to the Library of Congress Classification System and it covers subject areas including but not limited to: management, economics, environmental sciences, geography, religion, psychology, life sciences, English literature, history, fine arts, music, performing arts, and sociology. English is the primary language of materials collected by the library, with exceptions for foreign languages based on the curriculum and faculty research.

 The library focuses on adding newly published materials to the collection that are authoritative and/or ground-breaking in their fields; however, librarians are able to make retrospective selections in order to fill gaps or respond to requests with consideration according to selection guidelines.

Specific criteria for individual selections include some or all of the following:

  • Relevance to the curriculum
  • Relevance to faculty and student research
  • Readership level (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Suitable format (i.e. encyclopaedias, not cookbooks)
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Availability
  • Language
  • Reputation of publisher
  • Reputation of author
  • Strength of present holdings in same or similar subject
  • Special features (bibliography, foot/endnotes, index, maps, diagrams, etc.)
  • Demand (as determined by circulation reports and/or ILL and ICD requests)
  •  New edition or re-print: new content added that significantly improves value


UTSC Library does not collect more than one copy of an item, unless this is warranted by heavy usage of the same item already in the collection. Additionally, UTSC Library will not automatically accept a donation of an unnecessary duplicate into its collection. 

Selection Criteria for Specific Collections

a.     Gifts and Donations

The UTSC Library will be pleased to consider donations of materials that support current curriculum and research conducted at the University of Toronto Scarborough.  Over the years the generosity of donors has substantially contributed to UTSC Library’s collections. For additional information, please see the UTSC library Donation Policy.

b.    Reference Collection

The Reference Collection is the responsibility of all library selectors. Reference materials are based on selection criteria as outlined above. The reference collection, like all other materials collected, aims to support the curricular and research needs of students, faculty, and staff.

c.     Electronic Resources

Electronic resources include electronic databases, electronic journals, and electronic books. In most cases, electronic resources are purchased through the central University of Toronto Library system at the St. George campus. UTSC Library contributes to both decision making and purchasing. Electronic resources, like all other resources in the library, are purchased based on specific criteria and are meant to support curriculum and research. The UTL app allows anyone with a mobile device to search the University of Toronto Libraries collection through a mobile version of the library catalogue.
Some content providers allow users to download partial or complete copies of eBooks and journal articles so that they can be read offline on mobile devices. There are also an increasing number of library vendors and content providers that provide mobile browsers or apps to allow users to better interact with their content on a mobile device. A select listing of browsers and apps can be found here.

d.    Languages

UTSC Library collects materials primarily in English. In some subject areas, where sources in the original language are essential, sources are ordered in the original language. As program requirements change and focuses shift, language criteria are readjusted.

e.     Multimedia

Multimedia materials include DVDs, videocassettes,  CDs, audiocassettes, and other non-print material. These are considered to be as essential as print items and they are evaluated on the same basis as all other materials included in the collection.

f.      Fine Art Slides

UTSC Library has an extensive collection of art slides that have been collected based on curriculum and research. The UTSC library is currently digitizing these slides, and making them available through the Federated Academic Digital Imaging System (FADIS). This database is based at the University of Toronto, but numerous Ontario and other Universities contribute content. FADIS is a flexible database that can be used for research and curricular support. For more information, please see the Visual Resources Libguide.

Requests for Acquisition

The library provides the opportunity for its community of users to suggest titles for acquisition through an online form located on the library website, which directs the request to the appropriate librarian. These forms are available to all library clientele, and requests can also be made directly to a librarian. All requests are considered by a librarian according to the selection guidelines before purchase.

 Course Reserves

The course reserve collection provides access to faculty-selected items that are in high demand for current courses. The reserve collection varies by semester. Faculty submit their lists of requested items to the library with enough time for the library to acquire or organize the materials before the next semester begins. This service is offered for both print and online items, including electronically-available articles and e-books. The UTSC library does not place books on reserve from other U of T Libraries. More information.

Resource Sharing

The UTSC Library participates in an Interlibrary Loan system, which allows our users to request and borrow materials from libraries and institutions outside of the University of Toronto. This system also ensures that our library provides materials to eligible external institutions and users.

The University of Toronto Libraries system is very large, including many libraries across the three campuses. The Intercampus Delivery service provides users with access to materials that are only available at a library on another University of Toronto campus. This service is helpful to the UTSC Library in supplementing our collection with the materials collected by larger libraries, as well as those with more specialized collections. More information about Intercampus Delivery (ICD) & Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Collection Maintenance

Collection maintenance involves structured and periodic review of the collection to identify materials that are out-dated, severely damaged, or no longer relevant to curricular or research needs. Ideally occurring every five years under the leadership of librarians, the purpose of de-selection, or weeding, is to keep the collection current and relevant, and to make room for new acquisition