Background: Collection Policy Review 2019-21

SFU Library is developing new collection policies to respond to current and anticipated priorities at SFU and in academic libraries. In general, a collection policy states the purpose of the collection, articulates the library’s philosophy of collection development, and outlines the types and formats of materials collected and deselected.

Why we are revising our collection policies

The purpose of the new policies is to provide guidance for stewarding SFU Library collections into the future, in alignment with the 2017-2021 SFU Library Strategic Plan. We will continue to build responsive and enduring collections (including electronic resources and physical materials at the three campus libraries), support the research goals of SFU faculty and students, and preserve the scholarly record in collaboration with trusted partners. 

We also need to respond to growing and emerging issues and opportunities. Since the Library last revised its collection policy 13 years ago, there have been significant changes to the role of academic libraries and at SFU.

Changes in academic libraries

Research libraries are rapidly evolving. "Twentieth-century research library collections were defined by local holdings. ... Twenty-first-century collection management require[s] increased collaboration within and among institutions. ... [However] the purpose of collections remains the same: to support the creation and dissemination of new knowledge" (Association of Research Libraries, 2012).

Changes in academic librariesSFU examples
Increased collaboration between institutions to share resourcesSFU Library has a strong interlibrary loan service and last print copy agreements with other Western Canadian universities
Proliferation of ebooks and open contentSFU Library plays a role in helping researchers discover Open Access journals and Open Educational Resources
Rise in digital preservation commitmentsSFU Library has long-term preservation agreements with publishers and third-party archives, establishing the longevity and reliability of electronic content
Demands on libraries to provide new and innovative services and spaces for teaching, learning and researchIn response to campus needs, SFU Library provides services and spaces such as the Student Learning Commons, Research Commons, Digital Humanities Innovation Lab, and Media and Maker Commons

Changes at SFU

We also need to respond to recommendations from key planning documents, such as:

  • Walk This Path With Us. We support the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council’s proposal that the Library “continue to provide and enhance current services through the acquisition of indigenous education curriculum supports” (p. 46).
  • SFU Library Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We commit to diversify our collections and place special emphasis on being inclusive of those peoples, expertise, and knowledge practices currently and/or historically marginalized or excluded.
  • 2017 External Review. The external review recommends deselecting materials from our local holdings, in light of changes in academic libraries, ongoing space constraints at all library locations, and plans for the renewal of the W.A.C. Bennett Library building. In this work, we acknowledge there are important disciplinary differences.

Give us your input

We welcome your input. For information about the process and opportunities to give your input and feedback, see Communication & Consultation.

Questions or comments?

Please contact the task group chairs at with any questions or comments. Learn here about the task groups.