The University of Alabama is the senior comprehensive doctoral level institution in Alabama and is the state’s oldest public university. The University’s purpose is to advance the intellectual and social condition of the people of the state through quality programs of research, instruction, and service.

The University of Alabama provides library facilities and services to its faculty, students, staff, and other scholars and information users through a system of discipline-oriented libraries.

The Libraries support the University’s mission to “advance the intellectual and social condition of the people of the state, the nation and the world through the creation, translation and dissemination of knowledge with an emphasis on quality programs in the areas of teaching, research and service.”

Collection policies and principles have shifted in the 21st century. The library develops collections based on a profile built on the curricular and research needs of the campus.  In 2016 the focus of the main collection shifted from primarily print to primarily electronic and now uses a demand driven access model to provide access to materials faculty and student need at the time of need. The library will seek out venues for providing access to high cost, low use materials that do not require the library to maintain high cost subscriptions.  We maintain a number of cooperative memberships which aid us in providing resources for scholarly research and for teaching.  These include Center for Research Libraries, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of Southeastern Research Libraries.  We are a member of HathiTrust, an electronic collection of full text books and documents.

Special Collections collects rare and unique materials, including manuscripts, personal papers, books, maps, photographs and other graphic materials, and University records, in specific collecting areas that fulfill the teaching and research missions of The University of Alabama. Special Collections collection policy

Electronic resources comprise most of our current collection.  These include databases, electronic journals, and electronic books.  These resources must support the curricular and research needs of the campus community.   Electronic resources are reviewed on an ongoing basis to determine if they are relevant and cost effective.  We will explore alternative methods for providing access to high cost, low use electronic resources through our resource sharing partners and ILL.

As a general principle, we do not purchase traditional textbooks that are used for instructional purposes.  We may purchase books that lend themselves to adoption as course texts.  Examples of these may be books published by university presses or literary or historical works that are also used as texts in a course. Librarians are happy to work with faculty to identify alternate texts to be used in courses or to assist them in developing OER (Open Education Resources) texts.

Deselection of material is done with care.  There is no systematic process of deselection that fits all collections.  We may remove print materials that duplicate stable electronic archives.  Books or materials that are damaged, are held in multiple editions, or duplicated across collections may also be removed.  Lack of use may be a consideration but is rarely the sole factor in deselection.

For information on donations to the general collections of the University Libraries, please see the Gifts Policy and the General Collections Gift & Donation Form.

Intellectual Freedom

University Libraries adheres to the position governing censorship and intellectual freedom adopted by the Council of the American Library Association and published in the Association’s Library Bill of Rights. Librarians are guided by these principles of intellectual freedom rather than political, religious, or personal biases in making selection decisions. The Libraries collections contain and will contain various opinions which apply to important, complicated, and controversial questions, including unpopular and unorthodox positions. Factual accuracy, effective expression, significance of subject, and responsibility of opinion are factors that are considered when materials are selected for the University Libraries.

Revised 8/24/17; 9/8/17