Fundamentals of Acquisitions

Monday, 11/4/2019 - Friday, 12/20/2019
Monday, 2/10/2020 - Friday, 3/20/2020
Monday, 4/20/2020 - Friday, 5/29/2020
Monday, 7/6/2020 - Friday, 8/14/2020
Monday, 8/31/2020 - Friday, 10/9/2020
Monday, 11/2/2020 - Friday, 12/18/2020

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.

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.

2020 Sessions

  • Session 1: February 10 – March 20 - SOLD OUT 
  • Session 2: April 20 – May 29
  • Session 3: July 6 – August 14
  • Session 4: August 31 – October 9 
  • Session 5: November 2 - December 18

2019 Session

  • Session 5: November 4 – December 20

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 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.

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 Interim Head, Music Library at East Carolina University.
  • Charles Hillen is the Director of Library Technical Services at YBP Library Services in Contoocook, New Hampshire.
  • 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.
  • Alexandria Arnold is Executive Director of the Bernardsville Public Library in Bernardsville, NJ.
  • Stacey Marien is an Acquisitions Librarian at American University in Washington, D.C.



$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


Register online using the online learning registration site. Courses are listed by session date. Click on the “register link” located to the right of the session you are interested in.  You will be prompted to login with your ALA member ID or create a guest account, to begin the registration process.

By Mail

Register by mail using the print registration form. Tip: If you’re unable to open this “register by mail” link, right-click the link and save the form to your computer.
For registration related questions, call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 and speak to our customer service representatives.

ALCTS Code of Conduct

Please review the ALCTS Statement of Conduct before registering.

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 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.


Contact Hours - 36 hours

ALCTS defines contact hours in line with the IACET standards on Continuing Education Units.

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, please contact