Collection Development Policy

Guidelines and strategies that inform the type of materials we provide

Purpose and Scope of Policy

  1. The Trust provides psychological 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 was formally 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.
  2. This policy sets out how the Library and Information Service (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, training and consultancy functions of the Trust making these widely available to staff and students across all Trust sites and remotely.
  3. 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 with an increasing emphasis on electronic provision.

Acquisition Guidelines

      1. 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.
      2. 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.
      3. Any item legally published will be considered for selection, subject to material being relevant, affordable and value for money.
      4. No consideration will be given to an author’s political or other opinions, race, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation when selecting an item for stock. Acquisition of an item does not imply endorsement of the author’s views by the Library or by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation
      5. All publications by current Trust staff are acquired where available. 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.
      6. 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. Responsibility for selection rests ultimately with the Head of Library and Information Services, the Deputy Librarian and the Systems Librarian.
      7. New titles and resources acquired are posted on the Library’s website shortly after receipt.
      8. Course-related material
        1. course-related materials are purchased either as print copies or in electronic format
        2. the Head of Service is a member of the Trust’s Learning and Teaching Committee (chaired by one of two Trust vice deans) which meets monthly and the Medical Education Board which meets quarterly. Collection and acquisition issues are raised when new courses and new areas of training and research are developed
        3. the Library’s personal librarian service (named staff members who have responsibility for supporting a portfolio of courses with Library-related queries) is proactive in encouraging course tutors and leads to highlight new themes and updated readings for their courses
        4. 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
        5. 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 recommended.
      9. Research material
        1. 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.
        2. 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.
        3. the Library does not purchase material for the sole use of individuals or offices.
      10. Supplementary material
        1. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. Print, electronic and multimedia formats are acquired on the basis of information content which is relevant to the Trust’s areas of service and educational provision.
  3. Where a variety of formats are available the format offering widest access at a reasonable price, and acceptable terms and conditions of use, will be preferred.
  4. Electronic material is accessed either via open access arrangements or via subscription and secure institutional login.
  5. New formats will be introduced into the collection as they become available and where they are relevant and accessible.


  1. Due to the Library’s increasing provision of non-print formats and pressures of space, donations are only considered in exceptional circumstances.
  2. 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.

Other Collections

  1. Theses and Dissertations
    The Library has a policy, in line with U.K. University libraries, of receiving doctoral dissertations and Master’s theses in electronic format. Records are added to the online catalogue with a link to the full-text thesis or dissertation if available.
  2. Master’s theses:
    1. we aim to receive electronic copies of Master’s theses as provided via the Trust’s Academic Quality Unit from the Trust’s University partners who validate the Trust’s courses.
    2. full-text Master’s theses can be accessed via the Library Catalogue but can only be viewed via secure institutional login by staff and students of the Trust.
    3. in line with university retention policies Master’s theses are retained for a five-year period only unless the thesis is popular and continues to be of relevance to the work and study of the Trust
  3. Doctoral dissertations:
    1. the Library holds dissertations awarded for research-based doctorate courses, professional doctorates and ‘by publication’ doctorates.
    2. these are freely available via the institutional repository Staff Publications Online with a record on the Library’s online catalogue linking to the online copy.
    3. doctoral dissertations are retained in perpetuity.
  4. Where a thesis or dissertation has been restricted (for example due to potentially identifying information or material), this is indicated on the public records and access is on request to the author via the Library.

Audio Visual Collection

  1. The Library holds a small collection of audio and visual recordings covering Trust presentations and conferences, commercially purchased recordings and off-air broadcasts.
  2. The Library no longer makes off-air recordings but under the terms of our Educational Recording Licence and as part of our membership of Learning on Screen (the British Universities Film and Video Council) we will obtain, on request, off air broadcasts which are relevant to teaching and research at the Trust.
  3. We also subscribe to the BUFVC’s Box of Broadcasts (BoB) service which provides on demand radio and television broadcasts for educational use along with other commercial subscription video resources and an archive of over two million recordings. These can all be searched via our website – Box of Broadcasts
  4. We also purchase commercial recordings as necessary via providers such as Concord Media who have specialist documentary collections in the areas of health and social care.
  5. We retain an archive of recordings of Trust Scientific meetings (presentations of clinical work and research or new services) and conferences. Recordings are made within copyright and intellectual property regulations and made available to staff and students of the Trust.
  6. Recordings are checked annually for use and those never requested for teaching withdrawn from the collection or archived.


  1. The Library keeps a small collection of pamphlets.
  2. These include unbound short briefing papers from relevant bodies (such as the National Children’s Bureau), unpublished works by Trust staff (also included as a Tavistock Clinic Papers series) and copyright cleared papers used for course readings.
  3. Unpublished pamphlets by current and former Trust staff and the Tavistock and Portman Clinics series have been digitised and made available on the catalogue via institutional log in.
  4. The collection is checked annually for relevance and condition.


  1. The Library holds a small historical collection of print books and pamphlets illustrating the changing developments and research in the fields of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and psychodynamic social work including many texts by current and former staff of the Clinics.
  2. We also maintain a small archival collection relating to the history and development of the Tavistock Clinic Library
  3. The majority of the Library’s archive collection on the history and development of the Tavistock and Portman Clinics and their former bodies (such as annual reports, case material, minutes of the Clinics and the Trust) dating from the 1920s were transferred to the London Metropolitan Archives in 2017.
  4. A separate Archives Collection, Management and Preservation Policy is available.


Material in languages other than English

  1. Book titles in languages other than English are only added to the collection for publications by members of staff. These are usually translations of a title already published in English and donated by either the author or the publisher.
  2. Electronic journals and database resources will include some publications in other languages.

Physical Management and Preservation

  1. The Library’s collection is accessed via the library website home page.
  2. All books (print and electronic), theses, dissertations and web resources are catalogued and subject classified and added to the catalogue.
  3. The electronic repository is Staff Publications Online.
  4. All new books are catalogued and added to the New Books display as soon after receipt as possible. Notification of new resources is posted on the Library’s website.
  5. Most of the collection is classified and indexed using the Bliss Bibliographic Classification (2nd edition).
  6. The print collections are kept in the Book Room, the main Library area, the Computer Cluster Room (popular journals only) and the Archive.
  7. Electronic resources (books, journals and web resources) are accessed via the Library web site either through the catalogue or the Discovery link. Where required, access is via institutional login (Shibboleth).
  8. For the physical collection, repair, rebinding or repurchasing is undertaken as appropriate. Preservation of the physical collection is included in the Library Disaster Plan and the Archives Policy
  9. The Deputy Librarian conducts a stock review of the physical book collection on at least an annual basis and the Systems Librarian conducts a similar process for the journal collection (print and electronic). The Head of Service and the Systems Librarian also review the relevance of electronic databases annually and trial new resources on a regular basis.
  10. Criteria for review and relegation are based either on number of times issued (via the reporting system on the Catalogue and last checkout date) or currency for books and on usage statistics for e-books and e-journals.  Consideration is given to the need to retain older, classic material which is fundamental to the study and practice of the psychological therapies and electronic copies of these are purchased where available.
  11. Where possible, print material is disposed of to charitable organisations or second-hand book suppliers.

Policy leads: Angela Douglas (Head of Library and Information Service), Angela Haselton (Deputy Librarian), Helen Oliver (Deputy Librarian and Systems Librarian)

Date last reviewed:   March 2020

© Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust Library and Information Service

Print Friendly, PDF & Email