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UK Libraries is a vital community resource. As the central meeting ground for the University of Kentucky and the repository of the history and culture of the Commonwealth, we bear an important responsibility to provide welcoming spaces, thoughtfully collected materials, and world-class services to students, faculty, staff, and community members from across campus and around the world.

It is our mission to ensure that each of our users is able to fully and meaningfully participate in all that UK Libraries has to offer. Our responsibilities begin with facilitating access to our spaces and furnishing scholarly materials for every knowledge area across the University. By developing thoughtful, inclusive, and flexible spaces, and building collections that support our values, reflect our communities, and ensure that all users can meet their information needs, we can serve our dynamic community and provide learners of all backgrounds with the resources they need to reach their full potential.

View of William T. Young Library and surrounding grounds.

Collection Development Strategy

UK Libraries’ collection policies reflect our ongoing commitment to provide meaningful and sustainable support to the University’s mission through the strategic acquisition and collection of library resources. Our thoughtfully curated collections serve the informational needs of students, teachers, and researchers across all of the University’s colleges, from undergraduate to postdoctoral levels, as well as all academic and professional programs, specialized and interdisciplinary fields, and emerging research initiatives.

As stewards of a vast number of materials across an ever-expanding domain of information resources, we are responsible for building and maintaining collections that span the breadth of created knowledge and uphold diverse voices, identities, experiences, and abilities. We work diligently to promote the open availability and accessibility of our collections to all members of our community.  

Our acquisitions and management practices integrate both quantitative and qualitative measures, blending data-driven decisions with ethical commitments that support our strategic priorities and organizational values. We purposefully target materials with both immediate and enduring value while remaining responsive to emergent teaching and research needs, attuned to evolving format preferences, and cognizant of and adaptable to financial constraints.

Our collections form the basis of scholarly possibility at the University of Kentucky, and we strive to maintain the reputation of and reliance on UK Libraries as a repository for materials that document and preserve the the social, cultural, economic, and political history of Kentucky. Our collection-building process is a collaborative effort between many specialists within the Libraries, including archivists and curators, subject librarians, and acquisitions, licensing, and access experts, and between the Libraries and the University that it serves. Together, we acquire and manage meaningful, robust, and generative collections that permit exploration and discovery, support creativity, and foster connection.

We are proud to build and maintain collections that can be accessed and used by the entire UK community and that serve and support students, teachers, and researchers across the Commonwealth and around the world.

You can learn more about our collections by visiting our Find & Borrow section:

Shaping Library Spaces

In the lives of our users, UK Libraries’ spaces function as an important “third place”: a community center point and gathering place that is inviting, warm, open, and flexible, and that can fulfill needs that may be difficult for our users to meet at home. We provide a neutral ground dedicated to free access and common use that offers our users a place for both quiet privacy and communal connection. Our spaces are open without hesitation to all members of our academic and local community, and are ideal places to gather, connect, and create. 

Among the highest-use buildings on campus, with hundreds of thousands of entries per year, UK Libraries' campus locations have a unique obligation to ensure that our spaces are developed in consultation with our users. We determine our space development priorities according to feedback on our space-use surveys, and are always working and adapting to meet the needs of the diverse communities we serve. 

Our spaces are thoughtfully designed to be not only functional, but also beautiful, and to promote feelings of both wonder and safety. From open, airy, high-ceilinged spaces filled with natural light, to tucked-away nooks and quiet, out-of-the-way corners ideal for privacy and focused study, the Libraries are able to meet the wide range of our users’ needs. Our array of meeting spaces, social spaces, quiet spaces, and work spaces, conjoined with a loose and easily-navigable structure, allows our users to take control of their space and make the library their own, whether they are seeking peace and quiet, or taking advantage of communal spaces to interact, collaborate, or relax with friends. And with comfortable, adjustable, carefully-curated furniture, art from local Kentucky artists, dining and wellness options, and other hidden treasures, our users are encouraged to linger and feel that they belong.

Vital agents in community-building, UK Libraries’ spaces help forge social words. As hubs of interaction at the cross-roads of different disciplines, backgrounds, and interests, they facilitate the social exchanges through which information is transformed into knowledge, and in which divergent ideas are woven together to form and nurture new scholarly communities. All of our users know that when they step through the doors of UK Libraries, they are entering a space in which they belong, and which was created with them in mind.