Fundamentals of Acquisitions

Four-week online course that focuses on the basics of library acquisitions:

  • goals and methods of acquiring monographs and serials
  • 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. Acquisitions, in essence, is the business side of bringing materials into the library or licensing access to library resources.

Learning Outcomes


Who Should Attend

As a fundamentals course, FOA is tailored for librarians and paraprofessionals new to the acquisitions field, in all types and sizes of libraries. Although many formats and types of materials are discussed, FOA focuses on the acquisition of monographs in a physical format. Although FOA focuses on physical book acquisitions, the structural components of the course—goals and methods of acquisitions, vendor relations, financial management, and ethics—constitute the 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.


  • Betsy Redman, Acquisitions Serials Librarian, Arizona State University
  • Morag Boyd, Head, Special Collections Cataloging, The Ohio State University Libraries
  • Eleanor Cook, Assistant Director for Collections & Technical Services, East Carolina University
  • Michelle Flinchbaugh, Acquisitions Librarian, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Donna Smith, Assistant Head of Technical Services, Northern Kentucky University
  • Kate Kasimor, Acquisitions Serials Librarian, Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi




How to Register

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

Tech 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.


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


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