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Library Collection, Budget and Policies: Overview

Library resource updates, policies, projects, and wish list items

Trinity College Library Collection

The library collection is a carefully curated representation of past and present scholarship, built to support teaching, study, and research in the disciplines of the Trinity College curriculum. As scholarship changes and grows to reflect a more interdisciplinary and diverse world, so does the collection. It offers both historical depth in established fields of knowledge as well as current scholarship in new areas of research, and provides a wealth of information in formats ranging from print to digital to new streaming media.

Future Priorities and Challenges

The Trinity Library collection is a rich resource built carefully over the 200 year history of Trinity College. In the past decade the collection has doubled with the addition of one million ebooks to its one million print volumes; been enhanced through agreements with other colleges and universities; and made more discoverable through selective digitization. To keep the collection strong into Trinity's next 200 years, the library plans to

  • Collaborate with faculty and students to develop a shared understanding of the goals and priorities of the Trinity Library collection.
  • Strengthen partnerships with other libraries so that their collections are available to the Trinity community.
  • Manage and preserve the existing print collection so that needed materials are available now and in the future. 
  • Enhance the collection by incorporating more diverse voices that are absent from much of the legacy collection.
  • Develop a sustainable financial model, addressing issues that have hurt the collection, especially the rapid growth in journal costs.


What We Purchase

The Trinity College Library purchases, makes available and manages material in support of teaching, learning and research at Trinity College. We support many formats, including digital, print, data and streaming. In making purchasing or cancelation decisions we prioritize buying/keeping:

  • Materials supporting teaching and/or student research and assignments. Purchases for research are done as the budget allows..
  • Resources with unique, specialized content not available in other licensed resources.
  • Full text or other content over abstracting and indexing resources.
  • Resources with a demonstrated low cost per use.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put extreme stress on all academic library budgets, including Trinity. We ask all vendors to consider following ALA and IFLA calls for 0% increases for FY2021. In making renewal decisions, we will carefully consider for cancelation any resources with a price increase.

During the Covid pandemic, when courses may need to be delivered remotely, we are more likely to purchase digital content.

The Library has developed circulation policies that reflect the College's fundamental commitments to open and unfettered inquiry, and respect for intellectual freedom. These policies are designed to grant equitable access to the Library's resources for all members of the Trinity community. Borrowers should understand that they are using a shared resource, and must accept responsibility for the care of materials they use as a way to respect the rest of the Trinity community.


Because library fines disproportionally affect some members of our community, in 2020 the Trinity College Library:

  • Lengthened borrowing periods for students.
  • Abolished late fees.
  • Replaced late fees with temporary freezes in the ability of a patron to borrow material when too many items are late for too long. 

Borrowers are still responsible to bring back materials in a timely manner so that others can access them, and for replacement fees for lost items. 

If a book is lost or you have items overdue, please contact the library and we will work with you to ensure that you can continue to use library resources.


Members of the public (non-Trinity) are welcome to use the collection on site in the Raether Library and Information Technology Center, except during Trinity finals and specific crises as declared by the Trinity President, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Materials may be used in the building, and two computers on Level A give the community access to the library's eresources.

In some cases, Trinity will grant borrowing privileges to the public with demonstrated scholarly need. Contact the Information Desk to inquire. 

The Watkinson Library is non-circulating and may only be used under the supervision of its staff. 

Unfortunately during the Covid-19 pandemic there is no access to RLITC for the general public. The Library does send materials to other libraries, so if the public needs something from Trinity's collection they should consult with their local public, school, academic or research library about using interlibrary loan.