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Library Policies

Rice Library Collection Policies


In accordance with USI's mission to advance education and knowledge in the university's learning community, the Rice Library develops and maintains physical and digital collections as curricular supports for all academic programs. Library collection materials include (but are not limited to) books, ebooks, physical and digital audiovisual material, microfilm, microfiche, and print and electronic journals. These materials are selected by liaison librarians and the Collection Committee, in consultation with teaching faculty. The Rice Library welcomes suggestions for new materials from USI faculty, staff, and students. The library does not generally purchase textbooks, but liaison librarians are available to work with faculty members to identify open educational resources or other low- or no-cost materials that meet course requirements.

Collection Development

Digital-First Acquisitions

The Rice Library embraces a digital-first acquisition model for the purpose of promoting equal and equitable access to library resources for USI students, staff, and faculty regardless of location or ability. Under this model, the library will default to purchasing or licensing electronic versions of new materials and will acquire physical versions only in the following scenarios:

  • If a physical version is bundled with the electronic version
  • If the cost of the electronic version substantially surpasses that of the print version and cannot be accommodated by the library's budget
  • If an electronic version does not exist
New Materials Accessibility

The Rice Library aims to foster an inclusive information environment for all library users and strives to proactively acquire and present collection materials which comply with standards set forth in WCAG 2.1, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. As such, the library will not license new platforms or databases that fail to meet WCAG 2.1 AA. Prior to licensing new databases or digital platforms, the library will request and review Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs) from vendors and verify that license agreements contain language comparable to the Big Ten Academic Alliance's Standardized Accessibility License Language to ensure WCAG 2.1 compliance.

Collection Management and Evaluation

In order to maintain a balanced, relevant collection that supports current university program curricula and student research, subject liaison librarians and the Collections Committee, in consultation with the USI community, participate in ongoing physical and electronic material evaluation.

Budget Distribution

The majority of the Rice Library's collection budget is dedicated to electronic licenses and ongoing subscriptions, with approximately 94% earmarked for maintaining database and journal subscriptions, and 3% allocated for streaming video licenses. Around 2% of the budget is reserved for electronic book purchases and around .3% for miscellaneous physical book acquisitions.

Existing Materials Accessibility

Though the Rice Library will limit new digital platform acquisitions to those that meet the accessibility guidelines described above, previously acquired electronic and print materials may fail to meet these standards. In these cases, the Rice Library, in consultation with Disability Resources or campus Information Technology, will provide a reasonable content accommodation upon user request.