General Collection Policies

Texas A&M University is a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University-Extensive institution and is only one of twenty-four institutions to hold designations as a land, sea, and space grant institution. The Texas A&M Libraries (hereafter “the Libraries”) consist of several College Station facilities, two international library facilities, facilities in Galveston and McAllen, and collections in several Texas locations.

The General Collections Strategies Policy provides a plan for developing the collections and maintaining their existing strengths for current and future students, faculty, and staff of Texas A&M University. Entities of the Texas A&M University System are also supported by the Libraries at any national branch and international location, enabling these users to fulfill the educational and research mission of the university.

The Libraries strive to make collection decisions based on user needs, considering both direct patron requests and analyses of current and historical usage. Accessibility for all users, both on-site and remote users, is an additional consideration. The Libraries prefer outright ownership, when possible, but at times economic or other factors can lead to purchasing only access rights for a limited time.


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

Collection Statistics

As part of a publicly funded institution, the Libraries are dedicated to providing transparency of the types of materials held and purchased in any given year.

E-Preferred Acquisitions Policy

The Libraries prefer the acquisition of electronic access to resources. Electronic resources provide the following benefits to the Texas A&M community:

  • Functionality: eBook and article links can be embedded directly into Canvas courses for ease of accessibility. eBook platforms may also provide the ability to search full text, highlighting, adding notes, and downloading to a local device.
  • Accessibility: Electronic resources can be accessed by any authorized library patron with a current NetID 24/7 on or off campus. In most cases, multiple users can access the content simultaneously.
  • Quick Access: Electronic resources can become available in a few days while print purchases may take weeks.

The Libraries will still consider print purchases under the following conditions:

  • There is no electronic version available.
  • The instructor or user prefers print format.
  • Content is better suited to the print format.

The Libraries actively pursue the purchase of permanent electronic backfiles of highly used journal titles.

User and data-driven collection practices:

In keeping with these core values and the Libraries’ mission, the Libraries will explore the use of emergent technologies to provide access to the collections. Patron Driven Acquisitions (PDA) and Evidence-Based Acquisitions (EBA) programs for electronic and print books have been implemented.

Preferred requirements for vendors, packages, and individual monograph, journal, or streaming titles:

  • Multi-user access is preferred over single user.
  • Online access is preferred over on-campus-only access.
    • Remote (EZproxy) access
    • IP authentication
  • Ownership of content is preferred over leasing or subscribing to access.
  • ADA compliant

Vendor contracts or licenses cannot contain or mandate the following:

  • Prohibitively expensive cost
  • Access through a single username/password that cannot be shared
  • Requirement to relinquish or destroy material upon termination of the contract
  • Requirement to monitor patron use or have patrons relinquish derivative data back to the vendor
  • Requirement to supply the licensor with patron records

Data Sets/Big Data

While data sets and big data1 pose unique challenges, this data value statement should be applied to the purchase and license of all datasets that have a demonstrated or justifiable value to research and instruction at Texas A&M University. In some instances, datasets may be purchased as part of a mixed collection. The Libraries do not purchase sensitive data or data with personal identifying information.

While licensing data sets, the Libraries prefer the following requirements to finalize purchasing:

  • Discovery and Access
    • Contain descriptive information and provided documentation or guide
    • Open Access, vendor neutral platforms
    • Vendor supplied software if needed
    • Notification from vendors when content is deleted, added, or updated
    • ADA-compliant
    • Perpetual access
    • Vendor support emulation of software
    • Usage data
  • Research & Instruction
    • License accommodations for fair use.
    • Downloadable and ability to export all or portions of datasets.
    • Scholars’ ability to combine data or datasets.
    • Scholars’ rights to data derivatives.
    • Ability to share among multi-institutional research teams.

Remote Storage

With approximately six million volumes, the Libraries must store some volumes remotely 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 controlled-climate, high-density repository known as HDR. Materials placed there by the Libraries may be requested for a limited time by its users and will be returned to the storage facility after use.

The second remote storage facility, located on the Texas A&M University RELLIS Campus, is the Texas A&M University System/University of Texas System Joint Library Facility (JLF) and serves both the flagship universities’ libraries and the libraries of their system schools. JLF follows the “Resource in Common” (RIC) 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.

Weeding, Retention, & Withdrawals

Weeding is a standard practice in collection management which consists of the removal of materials from the active collections that are no longer useful or appropriate. Weeding is necessary 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 use the following criteria as a guideline to weed, withdraw materials, or relocate collections.

Monographs and other one-time purchases:

  • Duplicate or multiple copies of the same title and edition that show little use
  • Superseded or preceded editions, especially works with little historical value
  • Low-use items or volumes that have never circulated
  • Materials that are damaged or in poor condition
  • Rare items or those difficult to obtain through interlibrary loan should be sent to the Preservation Department for possible treatment or facsimile reproduction. Rare materials may be transferred to the Special Collections and Archives Division. Additionally, damaged items may be replaced, preferably in electronic format, if they are available. The Director of Preservation makes the final decision on items with condition issues and will notify Acquisitions & Collection Strategies.
  • Media materials in obsolete formats
  • Items that duplicate the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) holdings or items in remote storage facilities Joint Library Facility (JLF), High Density Repository (HDR)
  • Items declared “missing” or “lost” will be reviewed for possible replacement.

Serials and other continuing resources:

  • As part of an R1 research university, the Libraries have the responsibility for maintaining the research record but no longer have the space to retain everything. The Libraries may make storage decisions between serials that are widely held by other libraries and those that have few other owning libraries and face the risk of becoming a last copy. The Libraries may withdraw certain print serial volumes based on factors such as electronic availability, space constraints, and the number of other owning libraries.
  • Some items that meet the above criteria may be part of a donation. Gift agreements will preempt weeding criteria.

Institutional Repository

OAKTrust is an open-access digital repository for collecting, preserving, and distributing the scholarly output of 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

All Texas A&M University doctoral dissertations are now available digitally through ProQuest Dissertation Publishing (formerly UMI) and Theses Full Text database. Electronic Thesis and Dissertations (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. One archival copy of each thesis, dissertation, and record of study submitted by Texas A&M University students for graduation are retained in the University Archives.

Course Materials

The Libraries are advancing its Course Materials Affordability Program which will facilitate the use of Open Educational Resources and library-licensed materials to provide students with alternatives to expensive commercial textbooks at Texas A&M. Through endowments from the Federation of Texas A&M University Mothers' Clubs and the Crawley Family Foundation, purchases include library materials for textbook course reserves, ebooks, and streaming media licenses that would replace commercial textbooks.


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

  • Gifts of books written by Texas A&M University faculty and staff
  • Unique items in good condition that are of critical research interest to the University which are not currently held in its general collection, and which are not commercially available
  • The Special Collections and Archives Division 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 the Libraries’ special collections. For more information about donating to the Special Collections and Archives Division, contact the Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Archives, Robin Hutchison, at or call 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. Generally, 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

Texas A&M University Libraries belong to several consortia. These partnerships enhance the collections of Texas A&M University 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. 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 thirty-nine 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.

South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium

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.

Texas Digital Library

The Texas 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.

Library Content and Censorship Statement 2

As an academic institution, it is assumed that patrons of the Libraries can bear responsibility for their own consumption of information and materials. At no time will the Libraries assume responsibility for a patron’s use of its resources. The Libraries and its representatives will not act in loco parentis (as parents) at any time. Children in the Libraries should always be accompanied by parents or other guardians. Items in the Libraries will not be censored for content and users’ information usage will not be monitored in any way while accessing the Libraries or its materials.

The Texas A&M University Libraries will not withdraw materials from its collections based on allegations of false, outdated, or potentially harmful information. Authors may misstate facts, draw incorrect conclusions, or state views that are not accepted by many. Contested facts and opinions are protected by academic freedom and older information can remain a vital part of the historical record.3

2 The book challenge policy section is adapted with permission from the Michigan State University Libraries and the TAMU-Qatar library.

The Libraries’ collections will be guided by the Library Bill of Rights -