Library Support for Overseas Collection Development Trips

Policy Statement:

The University Library provides support for the acquisition and processing of materials required to support the research and teaching mission of the University. In most cases, these items are available through vendors or distributors located or conducting business in the United States. In cases where vendors are located abroad, the vast majority offer services to libraries in the United States. However, there exists a long tradition among research libraries of supporting buying trips in order to enable subject experts an opportunity to identify and acquire resources that are not easily acquired from the United States.

In an effort to better support the disciplinary needs of scholars, the University Library endeavors to provide support for a limited number of collection development trips. In order to maximize its resources, the University Library seeks to partner its resources with those of programs and centers on campus. Pending availability of funding, the University Library will typically contribute funds to supplement the travel and acquisition costs associated with one buying trip per fiscal year. It is the University Library’s intention to distribute this support in an equitable manner – not excluding repeat trips in support of a particular center or programmatic area, but not necessarily encouraging them at the expense of other disciplinary needs.

The purpose of a collection development trip must be to acquire materials for the University Library’s collections; therefore, University Library support for such trips will be limited to University Library personnel. Combining the buying trip with either vacation time or conference attendance is allowed, if coordinated with the University Library and the appropriate units within the University Library (see Buying Trip Support & Leave Request Form).


Identification of support for buying trips shall be made annually through application to the Head of the International and Area Studies Library. This application will be made in late spring for travel to take place between July and March of the following fiscal year.  Applications should provide a rationale for the buying trip, including a description of the significance of the proposed materials to be purchased for both the short-term and long-term research needs of scholars.  A plan for promoting and making materials available to scholars should also be included.  Finally, applicants should attempt to coordinate, when possible, collection of materials that may support collections maintained by other subject specialists.  For example, a buying trip that focuses on primary source manuscript collections in North Africa might also be used as an opportunity to collect difficult to obtain materials relevant to researchers of art and architecture, arid land management, or health.


Prior to travel, approved trips will require the completion of a documented understanding between the University Library and sponsoring department or program. The librarian receiving approved travel will be expected to make appropriate arrangements with the University Library’s Office of Collections, Business Office, and Acquisitions Unit to ensure that all required documentation and spending arrangements are resolved well in advance of projected travel dates.


Upon completion of the trip, it is expected that a report will be provided to the University Library regarding the materials acquired. As an agent of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the sponsored librarian is responsible for appropriate documentation of all travel-related expenses upon completion of the trip. Any costs associated with travel conducted without pre-approval may not be eligible for reimbursement. Additionally, reimbursement may require translation services of the buying agent for invoices not-readily understandable by individuals not conversant in the language in question. The individual requesting the reimbursement will be responsible for providing this service.


Related Resources:

Overseas Collection Development Trip Support & Leave Agreement
Application for Financial Support for International Collection Development Trips



Responsible Office: International and Area Studies Library

Contact: Head of the International and Area Studies Library

Approved by: Administrative Council

Approved on: September 22, 2009

Effective on: September 23, 2009

Review Cycle: As needed

Change History: Initial approval

Updated: July 19, 2012