Fundamentals of Acquisitions

Six-week online course that is a basic primer for library acquisitions concepts common to all library material formats. It covers:

  • 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.

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

In FOA, 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.

 Special International Session, April 14–May 23

This special international session is intended for people located outside of the United States and North America.  The instructor, Kate Kasimor, is based out of the United Arab Emirates, and will be able to bring an international viewpoint to the course.  The weekly, moderated chat sessions will take place at a more convenient time for our international participants and provide a better opportunity to fully engage in the course.

Topics that may be covered from an international perspective include ethics differences, dealing with vendors located outside of our countries, communication across time zones, shipping across borders, currency exchanges, and different laws.

Students located within North America are encouraged to attend one of the regular FOA sessions that are instructed by U.S.-based faculty.  Please contact Julie Reese,  in the ALCTS Office at if you have any questions or concerns.

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.

Course Level & Prerequisites

This is a fundamentals course with no prerequisites.

Course Syllabus


  • Betsy Redman, Acquisitions Serials Librarian, Arizona State University
  • Eleanor Cook, Assistant Director for Discovery & Technology Services Academic Library Services, East Carolina University
  • Michelle Flinchbaugh, Acquisitions and Digital Scholarship Services Librarian, UMBC Library 
  • Donna Smith, Assistant Head of Technical Services, Northern Kentucky University
  • Jennifer Arnold, Director, Library Services, Central Piedmont Community College
  • Kate Kasimor, Technical Services Librarian, Higher Colleges of Technology - United Arab Emirates

Dates & Times

2014 Sessions

  • Session 1: February 24 – April 4
  • Session 2: April 28 – June 6
  • Session 3: July 21 – August 29
  • Session 4: September 15 – October 24
  • Session 5: November 10 – December 19
  • International only session: April 14 – May 23

Online chat sessions will be scheduled regularly throughout the six-week course.


8 contact hours.

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


$109 ALCTS members; $139 nonmembers

Registration for this course is U.S. based and the registration fees are in U.S. dollars.

Technical Requirements

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 web site 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.


To register, complete the online form or register by mail for the session you would like to attend.


For questions about registration, contact ALA Registration by calling 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 or email

For all other questions or comments related to the webinars, contact Julie Reese, ALCTS Events Manager at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5034 or