Fundamentals of Acquisitions
Description: 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.
Format: 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 12:00 noon 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 1:00 pm CDT
Week Six: Wednesday at 2:00 pm CDT
2015 Schedule: The course is offered several times each year. Sessions tend to sell out weeks in advance.
- Session 1: March 2 – April 10 CLOSED
- Session 2: May 4 – June 12 CLOSED
- Session 3: July 20 – August 28 CLOSED
- Session 4: September 14 – October 23 CLOSED
- Session 5: November 9 – December 18 SOLD OUT
2016 Schedule: Next year's schedule will be announced in December. Add your name to our Web Course Notification List to receive ALCTS web course announcements.
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.
Taking a web course is different than taking a traditional course in a classroom. Read Are You Ready for Online Learning to make sure the web course structure is right for you.
- Eleanor Cook is Assistant Director for Discovery and Technology Services Academic Library Services at East Carolina University.
- Michelle Flinchbaugh is Acquisitions and Digital Scholarship Services Librarian at University of Maryland Baltimore County Library.
- Donna Smith is Assistant Head of Technical Services at Northern Kentucky University.
- Jennifer Arnold is Director, Library Services at Central Piedmont (N.C.) Community College.
- Kate B. Moore is Coordinator of Electronic Resources at Indiana University Southeast.
- Christina Hennessey is Cataloging Librarian at Loyola Marymount University in California.
$139 ALCTS members; $169 nonmembers
Registration for this course is U.S.-based and the registration fees are in U.S. dollars.
How to Register
Registration for each course is limited to 20 people. For courses that are not sold out, online and fax registration ends at 12 noon CDT on the Monday before the course begins. Mailed registration forms must be postmarked by two Mondays prior to the course start date.
Cancelation & Change Policy
Any requests for cancelation or changes to registration must be received in writing by ALCTS or the ALA registration department (MACS) no later than 7 days prior to the start of the course and are subject to a $40 processing fee.
A Moodle-developed site is composed of self-paced modules with facilitated interaction led by the instructors. There are predetermined start and end dates and a suggested pace which include interaction with the instructors and your classmates. Students regularly use the forum and chat room functions to facilitate their class participation. Section quizzes are offered and feedback given, however, there is no final class grade.
The course website will be open for 1 week prior to the start date for students to have access to Moodle instructions and set their browser correctly. The course site will remain open 1 week after the end date for students to complete any sections and submit the course evaluation survey.
Certificates of completion are sent upon successful completion (passing score of 70% or higher) of the course.
This course is one-third of the Collection Management Elective course approved by the Library Support Staff Certification Program (LSSCP). Collection Management Elective FAQ