Collection Policies

We enrich minds and inspire learning by providing quality information, services, and resources to the Texas A&M Libraries global community. The University Libraries will be the indispensable hub of discovery, learning and creativity at Texas A&M by providing a distinguished collection of information resources unbounded by place and preserved for future generations. The Libraries actively participate in the University’s mission to assume a place of preeminence among public universities.  

The University is a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University-Extensive, and has designations as a land grant, sea grant and space grant institution.  The TAMU Libraries have five College Station facilities: Cushing Memorial Library (rare books, special collections, manuscripts, and archival repository), Sterling C. Evans Library and Annex (general university library), Medical Sciences Library (medical science and veterinary science), Business Library & Collaboration Commons (business), Policy Sciences and Economics Library (political sciences and economics). In addition, there are two international TAMU library facilities and collections in several Texas locations. Each facility except the general university library focuses on a specific subject but has some overlap with other libraries. Sterling C. Evans Library and Annex has collections in all subjects. Currently the Libraries have two shared remote storage facilities.

Collection Statistics 

The University Libraries are dedicated to providing materials in a variety of formats accessible both on campus and remotely. The Libraries strive to be the best in class. According to the 2018-2019 ARL Library Investment Index, the Libraries were ranked 8th among ARL US Public University Libraries and 18th in ARL Overall ranking.  


This policy covers all areas of information and is for TAMU Libraries located in College Station and Qatar.  Other affiliated libraries are not included in the policy even if included in the catalog.

Potential Users

Primary users are the students, faculty, and staff of TAMU, and entities of the TAMU System supported by the TAMU Libraries at any international location.  The Libraries are open to the public for on-site use. The collection is developed and maintained for primary users. 

The 2020 Fall enrollment for Texas A&M University totaled 71,109 students, and of that total, the College Station campus enrolled 65,684 students. The undergraduate enrollment comprises roughly 79% or 56,272 of the students. Doctoral and post-doctoral students comprised 34% or 5,046 of the 14,924 total graduate and first-generation student population 25%. For the most current statistics, consult the Texas A&M’s Student Demographics. 


The Libraries collect in all subject areas and use Library of Congress (LC), National Library of Medicine (NLM), Texas Documents (TxDoc), and U. S. Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) classification systems.  TAMU theses and dissertations follow a local classification system.   

Electronic Collection Policy 

In general, this electronic collection policy mandates the selection of the electronic format for periodicals and Evans Reference materials over print, when available and when not prohibitively expensive. Multi-user access, downloadable chapters, and other features outlined in an e-book value statement are highly preferable.

Using the core values for electronic collections outlined below, subject librarians should address subject specific electronic access requirements in their individual collection development policies.

 Core Values for the Collection of Electronic Material – Guidelines to Consider when Selecting Material in Electronic Format

 High demand titles

  • Consider the electronic format when there is a need to optimize access to users and to reduce the number of duplicate print copies. The e-version may be considered as a first copy or a duplicate copy of a high demand title. 
  • Examples of high demand titles include:
    • Some reference books
    • Textbooks
    • Computer books (programming, software applications, manuals)
    • Classic literature 
    • Texts on research methods
    • Study guides

 Space constraints and storage issues

  • Consider the electronic format for areas where the alleviation of space and storage issues is paramount.

Material that is likely to be vandalized or stolen 

  • Consider the e-format in order to reduce or eliminate the need to purchase replacement copies, which are sometimes expensive or no longer available.

Special e-Book database features, special book content, or subject areas, such as PsycBOOKS, Knovel, Early English Books Online, Safari Tech Books Online.

  • Consider the electronic format when the content lends itself to this format, particularly over older formats such as microform. 
  • When content is available from multiple vendors, one vendor may be selected over another if the vendor provides an interface with unique features. 
  • Special vendors (database platform) may be considered when their content is unique.

Emergent technologies and innovative collection practices

  • In keeping with these core values and the Libraries’ mission, the library will also explore the use of emergent technologies, such as electronic book readers, iPods, netbooks and mobile access.
  • Patron Driven Acquisitions (PDA) program for electronic books has been implemented.

Preferred requirements for vendors, packages and individual titles:

  • Multi-user access is preferred over single user.
  • Online access is preferred over on campus-only access.
    • Remote (EZproxy) access 
    • IP authentication
    • Single username and password that are shared
  • CD-ROMs on a secure network, if online access is not possible.
  • Purchase individual e-books through GOBI Library Solutions. (exceptions described above)
  • ADA compliance

Vendor (Contract) cannot contain or mandate the following (deal breakers)

  • Prohibitively expensive cost.
  • Access through single username/password that cannot be shared, or email format. 
  • Requirement to relinquish or destroy material upon termination of the contract.
  • Requirement to monitor patron use.
  • Requirement to supply the licensor with patron records.

Weeding & Withdrawals

Weeding is a standard practice in collection management which consists in the removal of materials that are no longer useful or appropriate from the active collections. During regular collection maintenance subject librarians are consulted regarding storage, weeding, replacement, or repair of materials in their subject areas.

Weeding is necessary in order to maintain current and relevant collections, aligned to the university’s curricula and research, and to ensure shelf space for collection growth. 

The Libraries will follow the below criteria as a guideline to remove or withdraw materials from collections. These criteria will be adapted for each subject area in consultation with subject librarians as appropriate. For large projects, subject librarians are expected to consult with the teaching faculty.

  • Duplicate or multiple copies of the same title and edition may be withdrawn. Exception: recognized importance of a work, edition, and author, or high use of duplicate or multiple copies may warrant a decision for retaining. 
  • Superseded or preceded editions, especially works with little historical value may be withdrawn. Exception: superseded or preceded works recognized as having historical value may warrant a decision for retaining.
  • Low use items or volumes that have never circulated and contain obsolete or misleading information may be withdrawn, in consultation with subject librarians.
  • Materials that are damaged or in poor condition may be withdrawn. Exception: rare items or difficult to obtain through interlibrary loan should be sent to the Preservation Department for treatment or facsimile reproduction, if possible. Rare materials may be transferred to Cushing Library. Additionally, damaged items may be replaced if they are available for purchase as new or used items in good condition. The Director of Preservation makes the final decision on items with condition issues with notification of the subject librarians (who may consult with the teaching faculty).
  • Media materials in obsolete formats may be considered for replacement, preservation, or withdrawal. 
  • Single or scattered issues of serial titles may be withdrawn.  Exception: recognized importance of a work may warrant a decision for retaining.
  • Items identified for transfer to remote storage, which duplicate CRL holdings or items in remote storage facilities (Joint Library Facility-JLF, High Density Repository-HDR) may be withdrawn. For items duplicated at JLF we will claim “Resource in Common.”
  • Items declared “missing” or “lost” may be withdrawn.

Some items that meet the above criteria may be part of a donation. Gift agreements will preempt weeding criteria. Proper disposal of items occurs by various methods. TAMU Form FDP-411A is required for property transfers between University departments, out of TAMU or into TAMU. TAMU Form FDP-414 is required for property additions and deletions. A list of approved organizations to which library materials can be transferred is maintained by University Logistics Services.  Although the University could sell withdrawn materials at auction, this would require significant additional resources, including staff time and space to deposit withdrawn materials. In consequence, disposal (shredding and recycling) by an outside vendor is preferred.

Remote Storage 

With approximately 6 million volumes, the Texas A&M University Libraries must store some volumes remotely in order to have room for both user space and new acquisitions.  The Libraries currently partner with the University of Texas Libraries to maintain two remote storage facilities.  The first facility, located near Austin, is a state of the art, controlled-climate, high-density repository known as HDR.  Storage facilities of this type are not designed for end-user visits; materials are shelved according to size in boxes placed on warehouse-type shelves, and the environment is maintained at standards set for long-term preservation of print materials. Materials placed in HDR may remain the sole property of the institution that stored them, or one of the library partners may petition to have materials held by both libraries declared a “Resource in Common” (RIC). Materials that remain the sole property of an institution may be requested by patrons of that institution only and may be re-located to another facility by the owning institution.  Materials classified as RIC may be requested for circulation by patrons of either participating institution but must be returned to the storage facility after use.

The second remote storage facility located in Brazos County on Texas A&M University Riverside Campus opened on May 24th, 2013. This facility, called Texas A&M University System/University of Texas System Joint Library Facility, serves both the flagship universities’ libraries and the libraries of the system schools. JLF adopted the “Resource in Common” model. Ownership of the deposited items is retained by the participating institutions, and not transferred to the storage unit.  All items received at JLF are classified as RIC, can be borrowed by a participating library user, or lent to a non-participating library, but cannot be permanently removed or relocated without the approval of all libraries sharing the item. Duplicate items are not accepted in the facility. 

The TAMU Libraries identify materials for storage by several criteria, such as online availability, duplication between campus libraries, superseded editions, fragility, and lack of current use. These criteria include the identification of materials that will cause the least inconvenience to scholars needing access to the item as historical artifact.  

Institutional Repository

OAKTrust is an open access digital repository for collecting, preserving, and distributing the scholarly output of the Texas A&M University and its partners. It provides increased access to the intellectual output of the University's research and scholarship endeavors, fosters the preservation of these digital copies for future generations, promotes increasingly rapid advances in scholarly communication, and helps deepen community understanding of the value of higher education.

Theses & Dissertations 

History of Print, Electronic Submissions, and Digitization of Backfiles

Traditionally, print copies of each thesis, dissertation, and record of study submitted by Texas A&M University students for graduation were cataloged and housed in TAMU Libraries.  A copy of each dissertation was also submitted to ProQuest Dissertation Publishing (formerly UMI).

In 2002, students had the option of electronically submitting a copy of their thesis, dissertation, or record of study (ETD) which was then deposited into the TAMU Digital Repository, now known as OAKTrust.  Electronic submission became mandatory beginning in 2004. Doctoral dissertations continue to be submitted to ProQuest in addition to depositing copy in OAKTrust. Master’s theses (with very few exceptions) are not submitted to ProQuest.

A large digitization project, completed during 2011, initiated the withdrawal of all print copies of theses, dissertations, and records of study from TAMU Libraries, with one archival copy of each retained in an offsite storage facility (High Density Repository) in Austin, Texas.

 Discoverability, Accessibility, and Embargoes

All TAMU doctoral dissertations are now available digitally through ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Full Text database.  ETDs submitted between 2003 - 2005 (during the optional electronic submission program) and since 2005 (when the mandatory electronic submission program began) are available via OAKTrust as well as through ProQuest.  

Most of the ETDs currently in the OAKTrust, the earliest dating back to 1922, are freely accessible via the Internet (Open Access).  ETDs which were digitized under a contract with ProQuest, those dating roughly between 1964 – 2004, are accessible to TAMU-affiliated users with a university NetID and password only.  

The Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) sets policies regarding restrictions on access to ETDs.  Students may opt to place a journal or patent hold (embargo) restricting access to their ETDs for a period ranging from 6 months to 2 years.  Additionally, during this time, neither the record nor abstract is discoverable through ProQuest (for doctoral dissertations) or through the Libraries' Catalog and OAKTrust (for master’s theses, doctoral dissertations, or records of study). OGAPS approved a “process” change applying to ETDs submitted for December 2011 graduation and beyond.  These ETDs will have metadata records (author, title, abstracts, etc.) available in the Repository indicating when the full text is scheduled to be released to the public. 

Catalog records are created through an automated process immediately after they are available in OAKTrust.


The Federation of Texas A&M University Mothers' Clubs provides funds for the purchase of textbooks, the selection of which should conform to the subject specific collection development policies. In general, one copy of a textbook may be purchased for every 50 students registered for a class.  Exceptions are permitted at the discretion of the Acquisitions Librarian.  When possible, textbooks should be placed in Course Reserves, with the checkout period to be determined by the course instructor. Consider electronic format (if available), especially when multiple copies are being requested.


The Texas A&M University Libraries gladly consider donations of the following material:

  • The University Libraries welcome gifts of books written by Texas A&M faculty and staff
  • The Libraries will also accept unique items in good condition that are of critical research interest to the University, which are not currently held in our general collection, and which are not commercially available.  
  • The Cushing Memorial Library and Archives reviews donations of unique or rare books, manuscripts, personal papers, Texas A&M related materials, and other archival materials that are of critical research interest to the University and enhance our special collections. For more information about donating to the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, contact the Director of Cushing Library, 979-845-1951.

Apart from the exceptions above, the Libraries are no longer able to accept donations of books and other materials. If any gifts are accepted, it is with the understanding that the Libraries may add them to the collection at its discretion or dispose of them if they do not meet the standards for selection. As a general rule, gifted books will be added to the collection based on the same criteria as purchased material. The Libraries reserve the right to determine the retention, location, cataloging treatment, and other considerations related to the use or disposition of all gifts. 

To address questions related to this policy, please contact: John Ballestro, Director of Acquisitions & Collection Strategies at, 979-862-4647.

Consortia Memberships

TAMU Libraries belong to several consortia.  These partnerships enhance the collections of TAMU Libraries by providing opportunities for cost savings, cooperative agreements, and access to unique collections. 

Texas A&M System Libraries

The Texas A&M System Libraries is a consortium of eleven universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies and the RELLIS Campus. The consortium seeks to acquire resources in a cost-effective manner in support of the research, teaching and curricula for the Texas A&M System and to optimize the management and licensing processes.  

Center for Research Libraries

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is an international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries.  The consortium was founded in March 1949.  The founding institutions were the University of Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois, the State University of Iowa, Indiana University, the University of Kansas, Michigan State College, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and Purdue University.   CRL supports original research and inspired teaching in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences through its approximately five million newspapers, journals, books, pamphlets, dissertations, archives, government publications, and other resources     

Greater Western Library Alliance

Greater Western Library Alliance was first organized in 1996 and is currently a consortium of 39 research libraries located across the United States.  Member libraries have common interests in cooperative collection development, licensing shared electronic resources, scholarly communication, interlibrary loan, digital libraries, staff development and continuing education.  


TexShare is a consortium of Texas libraries joining together to share print and electronic materials, purchase online resources, and combine staff expertise.  The consortium was founded in 1994 under the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  TexShare’s mission is to maximize the effectiveness of library expenditures by enabling libraries to share staff expertise, library resources, pursue joint purchasing agreements, and encourage cooperative development of information resources and technologies.

South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium (SCAMeL)

The Medical Sciences Library is a member of the South Central Academic Medical Libraries (SCAMeL), a consortium of libraries serving medical schools in the five-state region of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.  SCAMeL’s mission is to empower member libraries to better meet the educational, clinical, research, and community engagement priorities of their institutions.  The consortium provides leadership and advocacy in health sciences librarianship, supports cooperative projects and sustainable resource sharing, and creates opportunities for professional development and the sharing of expertise 

Texas Digital Library

The Texas A&M Digital Library (TDL) is a consortium of Texas higher education institutions that builds capacity for preserving, managing, and providing access to unique digital collections of enduring value.

Through the establishment of a robust technology infrastructure, services, and community programs, the TDL supports research, teaching, and digital curation efforts of member institutions, facilitates collaboration, and connects local work to a global ecosystem of digital library efforts. TAMU is a founding member, along with The University of Texas, University of Houston, and Texas Tech University and collaborates with its partners to offer shared scholarly services.