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ALCTS Fundamentals of Acquisitions

This six-week course provides a basic primer for library acquisitions concepts common to all library material formats. Topics include:

  • Goals and methods of acquiring monographs and serials in all formats
  • Theoretical foundations and workflows of basic acquisitions functions
  • Financial management of library collections budgets
  • Relationships among acquisitions librarians, library booksellers, subscription agents, and publishers.

In this course, we distinguish between collection development, which involves the selection of materials for the library; and acquisitions, which orders, receives, and pays for those materials. In many libraries, selecting and acquiring materials may be done in the same department—in the smallest libraries perhaps even by the same person. In larger libraries, selection may be done by a collection development department and/or designated subject specialists, while a separate department acquires the selected materials. In essence, acquisitions is the business operation, bringing materials into the library and licensing access to library collections and resources.

Because success in acquisitions depends on ability to collaborate, negotiate, and be flexible to work out win-win solutions with others, this course includes collaborative and social elements.

The course is offered several times each year.  You only need to sign up for one session. Sessions tend to sell out weeks in advance.


Students receive login instructions one week prior to the course start date.  Students have 24/7 access to the course site for the six-week period, and aside from assignment and quiz deadlines, the course may be completed at their own pace.  Instructors provide guidance and feedback as students work their way through the course material.  Weekly, instructor-moderated chat sessions are the only live course events that students are asked to attend.

Weekly Chat Schedule

The following times are tentative and may change according to instructor availability.

Week One: Tuesday at 2:00 pm CDT
Week Two: Wednesday at 2:00 pm CDT
Week Three: Wednesday at 1:00 pm CDT
Week Four: Thursday at 12:00 noon CDT
Week Five: Tuesday at 11:00 am CDT
Week Six: Wednesday at 2:00 pm CDT

Learning Outcomes

This course provides a broad overview of the operations involved in acquiring materials after the selection decision is made.

Who Should Attend

As a fundamentals course, FOA is tailored for librarians and paraprofessionals new to the acquisitions field; and librarians and support staff from other library units and library school or LSSC students who want to know more about acquisitions. Although FOA focuses on the acquisitions of monographs in various physical formats, it covers key components of acquisition and licensing processes for all library materials, in all formats, in all types of libraries.

Online Course, Acquisition, ALCTS