Library acquisition and collection development policy

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust (the “Trust”) provides psychological assessments and treatments for all age groups to help prevent mental distress.  It has a national training remit to provide training to the health and social care workforce in mental health areas.  The Library and Information Service (the “Library”) was originally set up in 1946 and included material held by the Tavistock Clinic dating from when it was originally established in 1920 to counsel shell shocked victims from the First World War. 

The Library has a collection of books, journals, multimedia items, pamphlets, theses, an electronic repository for staff publications post-2007 and an archival book and pamphlet ­­collection relating to the development of the psychological therapies which includes pre-2007 publications by Tavistock and Portman Clinics staff. There is a small collection of archival material relating to the development of the Library. The collection includes paper and electronic formats as well as subscriptions to online databases and collections with an increasing emphasis on electronic provision.


This policy sets out how the Library acquires, develops, maintains, stores and makes accessible the collections it holds and is reviewed regularly.  It reflects the mission of the Library to support the clinical, research, academic and consultancy functions of the Trust making these widely available to staff and students across all Trust sites and remotely. It sets out the parameters within which any decisions on acquisitions and the development of the collection can be made.


The specialist nature of the collection means that the Library needs to retain more in the way of older material in comparison to more general health, medical and social care libraries but also needs to ensure that the collection reflects new and up-to-date research and clinical developments in the Trust’s specialist fields.

This policy is in line with and informed by the Trust’s equalities statement and policy on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech. The Library aims to serve a wide diversity of members who use our Library for educational study, work, and research.  This includes having a balanced and inclusive collection of a wide range of subjects that support the Trust’s mission, reflects up-to-date research in clinical areas, supports academic study, recognises lived experience of our staff, learners and service users and develops and promotes the principles of academic freedom.  The Library is unable to review all material which is purchased but acquisitions are based on relevance for the Trust’s areas of study, clinical practice, and research.

Any item legally published will be considered for selection, subject to material being relevant, affordable and value for money. We acknowledge that older material retained in the collection may contain language, perspectives and theory which is no longer acceptable or appropriate in current usage.  This material may be kept to give context and show the development of ideas in a particular subject. 

We also recognise that there is the potential for bias and colonial structures in the arrangement and description of the collections. We aim to identify where possible the use of problematic language and outdated subject headings and terminology and take steps to change it. As with all academic and health and social care libraries, we also subscribe to a number of online databases and collections which are selected for their overall content and relevance to our subject areas.  As such, we have no control over what individual titles might be included.

It is not the responsibility of the Library to promote one point of view over another.  Material will not necessarily be excluded because of frankness of language or controversial approach.  The acquisition of an item does not imply endorsement of an author’s views by the Library or by the Trust.


The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is referred to as “the Trust”.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust Library and Information Service is referred to as “the Library”.

CILIP – the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, now known as CILIP, the Library and Information Association

MLA – Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (until 2012 when its functions were moved to Arts Council England and National Archives)

Duties and responsibilities

Head of Digital Education and Library Services

  • Overall responsibility for strategic management and funding of Library Service
  • Collaborates with the Library Manager on the Policy
  • Member of initial panel looking at a reconsideration of an item in Library collection

Library Manager

  • responsible for creating and updating Policy and disseminating it to Library staff
  • ensures that Policy is available freely to access on Library website
  • ensures that Library staff are familiar with Library policies and procedures
  • responsible for sending current book purchases to Education and Training Committee on annual basis for further review and approval

Library team

  • ensure that they are familiar with the Policy and can easily locate it for anyone requesting access (Intranet for Trust staff, website for students, visitors and public)


The Library is allocated a resources budget based on the previous year’s allocation and any projected increase in the cost of texts, subscription fees for journals and electronic resources. 

Suggestions for acquisition and purchase are welcomed from all staff and trainees of the Trust and can be requested via the Library’s online catalogue including a reason for making the request.  Library staff will liaise with subject specialists across the organisation about new titles where appropriate. Responsibility for selection rests ultimately with the Library Manager.

New titles and resources acquired are posted on the Library’s website shortly after receipt.

Requests for acquisitions to the Library’s collection along with reasons for the request are recorded by the Library on our library management system which raises accurate reports on this information.  This is then reported quarterly to the Chief Education and Training Office (CETO) Training Executive.

6.1 Publications by Trust staff

  • All publications by current Trust staff are acquired where available and Trust staff are encouraged to alert the Library of any forthcoming publications and research.  The Trust has an electronic repository – Staff Publications Online – which contains over 2000 full-text publications by current and former staff of the Trust dating back to 2007 as well as Trust doctoral theses.  These are freely available via the Library’s website.  Publications older than 2007 are held in the print collections.

6.2. Course-related material

  • Course-related materials are purchased in electronic format wherever possible
  • The Library Manager is a member of the Trust’s Learning and Teaching Committee (chaired by the Director of Education) which meets monthly, the Medical Education Board which meets quarterly and the CETO Operations Committee.  Collection and acquisition issues are raised when new courses and new areas of training and research are developed.
  • The Library manages a large portfolio of online course readings which provides electronic full-text access to most core readings for current courses.  These are made available, where Copyright regulations permit, either as a direct PDF copy or an electronic book or journal link (via secure institutional login).  Multiple print copies are only purchased where a title has no electronic equivalent or is recommended for several courses   
  • Teaching staff are responsible for ensuring the timely supply of reading lists to the Library, in order that materials can be located, bought and supplied in advance of demand. A minimum of three months’ advanced notice is required

6.3 Research material

  • Most of this material is made available online via the Library’s catalogue and website directly from relevant bodies (such as Government and research bodies, professional bodies) to support Trust-wide and departmental research interests. Where online access is not available material may be considered for purchase.   
  • Psychological tests are not generally purchased due to cost and the problems associated with stock control for this form of material.  The Library will consider purchasing texts and handbooks associated with tests and suggest possible sources for individuals or departments to order.
  • The Library does not purchase material for the sole use of individuals or offices.

6.4 Supplementary material

  • Supplementary material is purchased as background reading for student course and project work and in developing research fields within health, social care, and criminal justice.

6.5 Inter-library loans service

  • Where material is requested and it is not possible to include the item in the Library’s collection, a library member may also request the item via the inter-library loan service.  Information on this service is available from the library enquiries service. 


The Library aims to provide material in a variety of formats and will develop the collection to ensure that all those who use its resources are able to do so in an equitable and accessible way.

Electronic and multimedia formats are acquired based on information content which is relevant to the Trust’s areas of service and educational provision with some print material acquired as necessary. Titles are acquired through a combination of fee-based licenced platforms, such as EBSCOHost, directly from publishers such as SAGE, and from open access sites such as Social Care Online.

Access to electronic material is either via open access arrangements or subscription and secure institutional login.

New formats will be introduced into the collection as they become available and where they are relevant and accessible.


Due to the Library’s increasing provision of non-print formats and pressures of space, donations of library materials are only considered in exceptional circumstances.

Where donations are accepted, the Library reserves the right to choose only those titles which will enhance the collection or as additional copies to heavily used texts. Any titles which are not retained by the Library will usually be offered to the Trust’s trainees and students at no charge on a first come first served basis.

Collection Management

The collection, both print and electronic, is reviewed annually for currency and relevancy.  Where possible any print material which is withdrawn is offered to charitable organisations or second-hand book suppliers.

Procedures for requesting reconsideration of material

In providing access to a diverse range of materials, some material may be offensive to some of our members. Each Catalogue record includes a short explanatory link for users who may have a concern about material.  We also have a process by which individuals or groups may formally request reconsideration of existing material they may find offensive or inaccurate.  If this is the case, a Request Form for Reconsideration of a Library Resource (available as Appendix A) is completed and emailed to the Dean’s Office

Upon receiving a completed form, a panel will be convened comprising the Head of Digital Education and Library Services, one relevant subject area specialist from the Trust and a staff member from another directorate who is independent of the Library and the specialist area.  The panel will consider the request and reach a decision, which will normally be communicated within 10 working days of receipt of the request. The panel will be clear from the outset what the parameters are within which decisions on the request can be made, and these will be communicated to the Library member making the request.

Where a Library member has raised concerns relating to material and is dissatisfied with the decision of the panel, they should complete the Library Resource Appeal Form (available as Appendix B), within 10 working days of the initial decision, and submit the form to the Dean’s Office.  The appeal will be considered by the Chief Education and Training Officer/Dean of Postgraduate Studies and a senior manager from another directorate within the Trust.  A decision will normally be provided within 10 working days.  The decision will be final with no further route of appeal. 

Training Requirements

All Library staff will be made aware of this policy and expected to be familiar with its content.  The Library Manager responsible for updating it will have expertise in library acquisition and collection development as part of their professional training with additional specialist learning and networking identified with relevant professional bodies, such as CILIP, and academic libraries as part of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD). 

Process for monitoring compliance with this policy

This Policy will be updated regularly by the Library Manager in collaboration with the Head of Digital Education and Library Services at least once a year when it will also be submitted to the Trust’s Education and Training Committee for further review and approval.


Associated documents

Trust Policy on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech

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