Home |  Search |  Contact Us |  Website & Cookies Policy

Services & Information

Library image


Building a library collection to meet the aims and objectives of the college requires a book selection policy designed to provide direction and a rationale in spending the library book fund.


The collection policy is designed to support college courses, research and personal development as well as material that may contribute to the general intellectual development of readers. The policy should result in a breadth and depth that supports all college activities. It will provide guidance on how the collection may develop in the context of a rapidly changing technology, and how to manage the move towards electronic resources which will impact dramatically on the library in the future.


The term book is used to describe all types of print materials in stock including journals, offprint, theses, pamphlets, government and other official publications. In addition there are a wide range of non-book materials including audio-visual materials, posters, packs, electronic books, electronic journals and access to remote electronic databases. Access to the collection is through the catalogue.


The greater part of the library budget is spent on the book fund which is allocated to subjects and departments in both faculties. Fund allocation takes into account the number of students, the typical cost of books in that field, new courses which will require more initial spending, and departmental spending in previous years. The research needs of academic staff are also considered.


When recommending an item for purchase, teaching staff should consider the individual cost of an item, its age and what else is available in the field of study. The librarian can provide advice and information on what is available to order in print and online.

Book selection must be seen against an overall policy of stock management to make the best use of space and keep the collection up to date and relevant. Stock will be regularly revised and edited, relocating underused material to reserve stock and withdrawing stock no longer of value to the collection. Criteria for removal can vary from subject to subject but generally includes level of usage, availability of new editions, outdated material and material which is no longer relevant to the College programmes. Academic staff will be consulted and asked for advice if substantial withdrawals from stock are being made.


Book Selection


The librarian is responsible for building and maintaining a balanced book collection but book orders from academic staff and access to current reading lists are crucial for the library to stock the titles that students need for their studies, in sufficient quantities and in the right place. The library will order extra copies of core and recommended texts to support courses, usually one copy of a core text for consultation and other copies in the seven day loan or main collections. An online version will also be ordered, where one is available, for all core and some recommended reading texts and for all online courses.

Book orders need to be submitted in time to order and acquire materials. A minimum of three months is recommended to allow our suppliers to deliver items, and not all material can be guaranteed within that time frame. Book items will normally be purchased in paperback form.

The library holds a collection of publishers’ catalogues and will provide advice on other sources of bibliographical information. The library uses two main book suppliers: Dawson and Coutts, and the Acquisitions Librarian can set up accounts for individual members of staff to keep them informed of new publications in their field.




The Library subscribes to over 100 print journals and newspapers and over 4,000 online journals. Journal use is monitored and requests for new journal titles will be considered in the context of departmental spend and  the use of journals held. The move to electronic journals is increasing and the library reserves the right to purchase new and existing titles in electronic form only. Back issues are kept, depending on the nature of the journal, and its availability elsewhere.

Full details of periodical holdings are available through the catalogue.



Scanned Documents and Offprints

Academic staff may request a chapter from a book or article from a journal held by the library to be scanned or photocopied for use by students. Copyright restrictions apply and not all material may be copied. Library staff will advise where this is the case. Copies may also be obtained from the British Library if the library does not subscribe to the journal.

Holdings in these collections will be reviewed regularly and documents no longer required will be withdrawn from stock in accordance with copyright legislation.



Interlibrary Loans and Document Delivery


No library can stand-alone and co-operation with other libraries is essential. Books and journal articles not available in the College, Queen’s or the Linen Hall Libraries may be borrowed from the British Library or other libraries where copies are available. This can be expensive and the service is usually only offered to staff, masters, postgraduate and final year students. Other students may also apply to use this service.

If a book which is requested on interlibrary loan is in print and is not needed urgently, or would be useful to other staff or students, the library will purchase rather than borrow a copy.


Articles may be requested by teaching staff for the offprint collection or to be scanned and in this case a copyright fee is charged in addition to the normal cost. The library reserves the right to limit the number of requested articles and to include costs in departmental allocations.

External readers wishing to use the interlibrary loan service may do so, however items requested will be charged at the full rate and must be pre-paid.