7 Library Collection Management Policy Examples

by | Aug 8, 2023 | Blog, Library Collection

A library collection management policy is a fundamental tool for anyone who protects large amounts of volumes. It provides a strategic framework for the acquisition, preservation, and deaccessioning of collections. Most likely, your library already has one, or perhaps you have been tasked with writing it yourself. Don’t know where to start?

Whether you already have a base document to work with or not, here are 7 examples of library collection management policies from some of the best run libraries out there to provide guidance and inspiration for your own documentation.

1) The British Library Collection Management Policy

Rather than having a single document with a library collection management policy, The British Library (BL) has a variety of policies and procedures available for public review. These involve risk management, responsible procurement and code of practice as well as performance statistics. Additionally, you can find specific policies (23 in fact!) that include:

  • Anti-fraud and anti-bribery
  • Borrowing collection items for public exhibition
  • Codes of conduct and service
  • Complaints handling policy
  • Content strategy
  • COVID-19 Risk Assessments
  • DCMS management agreement
  • Decommissioned BL web content
  • Donating collection material to the BL
  • Equality and diversity
  • Finance code
  • Fundraising ethics
  • Governance framework
  • Health & safety management
  • Immunity from seizure
  • Modern Slavery act
  • Pricing
  • Privacy
  • Risk Management
  • Safeguarding
  • Sustainability
  • Whistleblowing


2) Library of Congress Collections Policy Statements

Similarly to The British Library, the Library of Congress does not have a single, comprehensive document, but rather various collections policy statements, each dedicated to different types of materials and topics. This segmented approach allows for specialized consideration of each material type, an excellent model for larger institutions. For a full list in alphabetical order, see the Collections Policy Statements and Supplementary Guidelines. Did you know they even include NFTs, social media and web archiving?

3) Harvard Library Collections Strategy

If you would like to see a more concise, overarching type of document, the Houghton Library Collections Strategy at Harvard offers guiding principles and collecting priorities. This brief document addresses the selection and acquisition of materials, with a specific emphasis on collaborative collection development, inclusion and open access materials, showcasing a modern approach to collection management.

4) National Library of Australia Policies

If you would like to see specific details for policies that relate to collections management and preservation, make sure you visit the National Library of Australia website. They include documents for:

  • Borrowing material for exhibitions
  • Code of conduct for readers and visitors
  • Collection deaccessioning and disposal policy
  • Collection development policy
  • Collection digitisation policy
  • Collection disaster plan
  • Copying, accessing and publishing conditions for special collections
  • Copyright position statements
  • Digital preservation policy
  • Disability framework
  • Environmental policy
  • Events and education policy
  • Exhibitions loans policy
  • Exhibitions policy
  • Food and drink in public areas policy
  • Guidelines for the discard and retention of library material
  • Indexed list of file titles
  • Information and research services policy
  • Information technology strategic plan
  • Interlibrary loan policy 2021-2023
  • Onsite volunteer program policy
  • Policy on the illumination of collection material on display
  • Preservation policy
  • Privacy policy
  • Publications policy
  • Reconciliation action plan
  • Standards
  • Technology roadmap
  • Visitor access to, and use of, medications and other personal medical equipment in the Library

5) University of Oxford Libraries Collection Management Policy

If you are looking for examples on library collection management policy, it won’t hurt to look at one of the oldest libraries in Europe (1602). The University of Oxford Bodleian Libraries policies include downloadable PDF documentation related to readers, services, digital resources, general policies and collection management. Within this last category, they share:

  • Collection management policy
  • E-first policy
  • Special collections collection management
  • Special collections collection development
  • Collection storage strategy
  • Preservation policy
  • University of Oxford open access policy

6) The National Archives Collection Development Policy

Although not quite a library, The National Archives in the UK have a freely-available, Open Government LIcence 14-page document explaining its collections development policy so it will help archive services establish their own Collections Development policies and plans. It offers a detailed policy that includes the process of acquiring government records. This policy is particularly useful for institutions focusing on governmental and historical documents. The best part is the inclusion of an extensive bibliography at the end with further resources for different aspects of collection management policy that include ethics, oral history, deaccessioning and documentation strategies, among other topics.

7) The Getty Research Institute Library Policies

While the website does not include a fully comprehensive library collection management policy, it does provide specific information on Access Policy, Reader Privileges, Interlibrary loans and Reproductions and permissions. You can check out how they manage those specific areas of library management and take what you need for your own documents.


When you are creating or reviewing your own library collection management policies, it’s always a good idea to take a look around for industry benchmarks and comparable best practices or clever solutions that still maintain high quality services. The examples above highlight the diversity of approaches in library collection management policy. Whether your institution is large or small, general or specialized, we hope these policies can provide a starting point for developing or refining your own documentation.

If you have any questions about environmental monitoring, integrated pest management, or just want to talk about preventative conservation for libraries/archives, please reach out to us! Don’t forget to check out our blog or join our community of collections care professionals where you can discuss hot topics, connect with other conservators or even take a course to get familiar with the Conserv platform.

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