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Toolkit for Library Liaisons

New Liaison? What You Need to Know about Collection Development


Reclining on Books

Responsibilities of the UTA Subject Liaison Librarian are to:

Enhance the collections and make informed subject collection decisions based on:

  • curricula and research
  • data  from a variety of sources.

When you are first assigned to a Liaison subject area, please contact the UTA Acquisitions Librarian [Presently unfilled position. In the meantime contact Troy Christenson. This will be updated when the position is filled.] to schedule a meeting to review the collections policy and get any of your questions about it answered.

Tips for the Subject Liaison Librarian:
1. Become familiar with the University of Texas at Arlington's graduate and undergraduate courses.

  • UTA's "Course Descriptions" describes the previous, current and next semester course offerings.

2. Survey the faculty in your subject departments to understand their research and teaching needs.

  • Schools, colleges and departments at UTA are represented by web pages:  Often times, the individual school, college or departmental pages will display faculty research interests along with a list of the current faculty.
  • The Subject Liaison Librarian should supplement this information with personal contacts with faculty via email, telephone or a site visit to the school, college or department.

Compiling data about UTA courses and faculty research is an ongoing process requiring periodic review due to their changing nature. The collection should reflect these changes. It is important to inform faculty that they can contact the Subject Liaison Librarian for resource requests. Forms for requesting new materials are posted on the left side of this page, and should be shared with faculty when receiving a request from them.

Collection Policy

Given our "Just in Time, not Just in Case" Collection Philosophy, the selecting responsibility has stayed primarily with A&D. This is meant to help free liaisons up for more outreach work. There is no expectation for liaisons to select x number of books per yea, as is often the case at other academic libraries.

Below is the Collection Development Policy and related information for UTA Libraries.

  • Collection Development Policy:
  • We have implemented several demand-driven acquisition methods. Liaisons and faculty are likely familiar with the Purchase Request Form:
  • Additionally, we upload selected categories of MARC records of ebooks to Alma. Selections are based on a thoroughly vetted approval plan, which in-turn is based on rigorous data. As users discover items through searches, we will make a purchase behind the scene. Users will have access instantaneously. Similarly for print materials, when our users demand them, we will make purchases, provided that these materials are for academic use and below certain price threshold.
  • Another demand-driven acquisition method we use is via Interlibrary loan. When we see ILL requests for recently published books, we purchase rather than borrow them from another institution.
  • Last but not least, through UT System, we have used similar effort to purchase streaming videos and ebooks from ScienceDirect, Taylor & Francis, Project MUSE, SpringerLink, and etc.
  • We do not, however, regularly purchase textbooks:
  • We review usage statistics before renewing a subscription. If the usage is not optimal, we will add it to the Watch List. Liaisons are encouraged to monitor the list and contact their faculty for additional feedback. A resource will stay on the list for about a year to allow enough time for feedback. As you can see, this is based on the paradigm of demand-driven acquisitions as well. If the demand is no longer there, we will cancel the subscription and use the saving to support areas of needs.
  • As described in the policy, there are exceptions. In collaboration with the Open Educational Resources (OER) group, we gather information from these requests and see if we can bring OER awareness to faculty members who request ebooks for teaching purpose.

Department-Specific Collection

  • While not required, new Liaisons should consider creating collection guidelines for each of their subject areas, as they will differ from department to department.
  • Gathering information about departmental teaching and research, as described above will help form the basis for collection guidelines.  
  • A subject guidelines template is available below along with a sample guidelines document. These templates were created at Wayne State University, and we have been given permission to share them here.

Best Practices: Communication

Participate in ongoing communication with faculty, staff, and other selectors regarding:


  • Communicate with Acquisitions staff well before deadlines when placing orders to insure sufficient processing time.
  • Send notification (email, print) to other selectors when a new database, major reference title, or serials package is added in your selection area. Highlight the instructional, reference value or relevance to other disciplines.
  • Notify department liaison/faculty of major purchases on a regular schedule (monthly, semiannually, yearly) as appropriate.



  • When undertaking major collection initiatives, such as weeding or a serials review, provide faculty with the rationale and data necessary to keep them informed and involved in the process.            



  • Send out liaison letter to encourage faculty participation in ordering.
  • When faculty request books, journals or other items for the collection, Acquisitions staff notify the requestor when the item is available. Ask that you be included in correspondence so you know the status of the request.

Best Practices: Electronic Resources

Electronic Resources Information and Statistics:

Liaisons should monitor the following resources:

  • Discipline resources, especially electronic subscriptions purchased for or used by departments.
  • Links and vendors can change, backfiles can move, and content or enhancements can be added. 
  • Periodic emails are sent to the Liaisons Listserv when major changes are announced.  It is the role of Liaisons to remain current in their areas and share new features with their departments. Major changes can include new resources, cancellations, and resources added to the watch list.

E-Resource use statistics are available on a title-by-title basis:

  • If multiple years, titles or provider information are needed for renewals, cancellations or collection development decisions, send an email to UTA Libraries Electronic Resources Management Team: ERMS.
  • Statistical reports are available from various data management systems to which Andy Herzog has access to.  For example, once you have use data from ERMS, Andy can help you identify which of the users were from a specific major or program.

E-Resource outages: When a database is down, or when you can’t retrieve a PDF of something that we appear to be subscribed to: contact ERMS on Outlook.

Best Practices: Digital Collections

Liaisons should become familiar with the UTA Library’s Digital Collections, as well as the work of our Special Collections, and efforts underway in Open Access Publishing. Incorporating these specialized collections into instruction, as well as including them in Library Guides, adds yet another dimension to the libraries’ resources.

In addition, some of the collections were developed with grant funding, and with the involvement of community or campus partners.

Liaisons should be on the lookout for opportunities to work with faculty, as well as with on and off campus partners, and and other library teams to bring potential collections to light.