Guiding principles

Our primary goal is to advance the educational, research, clinical, and outreach missions of the University by providing our students and researchers with seamless access to the content and services they need, where and when they need them. As scholarship and publishing change, we adapt our strategies to provide content in the forms that are the most accessible and useful to our users. Today, the vast majority of our serials and nearly half of our books are available electronically.

We prioritize user access

For over a decade, we've intentionally chosen to pursue a “just in time” strategy for acquiring content instead of building collections “just in case” they're needed. This approach leverages regional and national shared-print collections; rapid interlibrary loan processes; and user-driven, on-demand access models to get our users what they need, when they need it. Through these and other strategies, we've been able to provide our researchers with broader access to journals, books, and other content than we could have afforded to acquire through traditional models.

We invest in student success

We actively drive down textbook costs and save students money by working with faculty to adopt open educational resources (freely available online textbooks, and other materials) and by acquiring online access to course content assigned by instructors (such as ebooks, articles, and streaming video) whenever we can. Learn more about free-to-use course content.

The Libraries also support the UA BookStores' Pay One Price program by providing instructors with unlimited-user licensed ebooks, which help to lower the overall cost of the program for Main Campus undergraduates. 

We maximize our limited resources

Our collections decisions are guided by the curricular and research priorities of our faculty and academic units and are informed by data; our users’ preferences and needs; our strategic, network-level goals; and by opportunities for us to return the best value to campus from the use of library spaces and the expenditure of state dollars.

We value print, but believe its future is consortial

Print books continue to be essential in many disciplines and we'll continue to purchase them whenever they're needed. Now and into the future, however, our strategic emphasis on print will be in support of building a richer and more accessible, network-level print collection that's shared and stewarded across major research libraries, including the UA, and made rapidly available through interlibrary loan.

We're serious about preservation & access

We participate and invest in national shared print and digital preservation initiatives such as HathiTrust, WEST, LOCKSS, Portico, and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) to ensure ongoing access to the scholarly record and to unique, primary source content.

We're committed to a more open & sustainable publishing ecosystem

We host over a dozen open access journals, facilitate the University’s Faculty Senate-ratified Open Access Policy using our Campus Repository, and are active participants in numerous national initiatives focused on open scholarship and open data. Learn more about our open access initiatives.