Building & Space

The Library building dates from 1954, with an addition in 1979. It is not adequate for the present-day information needs of students and staff. Due to limited spacing, all general acquisitions of new materials will be electronically preferred over physical (e-preferred). Maps, Special Collections, and Government Publications will acquire materials suited to their collections.


The Library materials budget supports the purchase and subscription of books, serials, and electronic resources (eJournals, eBooks, databases), as well as costs for bindery, cataloging utility fees, access or maintenance fees, and other behind-the-scenes costs. Ongoing purchases or access fees to electronic resources far outweigh all other costs. Unfortunately, electronic resources average 5% inflation year-to-year making the Library’s budget difficult to regularly add new resources without cancellations.

The Library’s budget is determined by campus administration. To make the most of the budget, the Library secures lower pricing by negotiating, signing multi-year agreements, and/or subscribing via a consortium (such as the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries).

Presently, the information needs of campus exceed the funds that are assigned to meet those needs. If or when the library is unable to purchase or subscribe to a resource, we recommend requesting via interlibrary loan (ILL), if available.

Collection Development Priorities

Information resources that are central to the Mines curriculum are the highest priority. Within budget parameters, research needs, and the needs of external users, are addressed as resources permit.

Many electronic resources are acquired as a package, with limited mechanisms to tailor the content to our specialized subject areas. Access to the whole, even if parts are underused, is preferable to having no access.

Book purchases (either print or electronic) are a small expense overall but are a crucial resource for students; a budget amount for these will be protected.

Most decisions are based on the whole collection with the interest of most users. It is no longer practical to define and strive to reach collection levels in individual subjects or to limit access to a subset of campus users. The Library wants all materials accessible by all Mines faculty, staff, and students.

If cancellations are required due to budget shortfalls, decision factors including overall cost, cost per use, alternate ways to access content, availability in other libraries, and relation to the mission of Mines will be considered

Requesting Materials

Mines professors, instructors, staff, and students may make recommendations for materials needed for the curriculum or research at Mines. The Suggest a Purchase form can be filled out by anyone for any material requests. Library staff will evaluate the purchase or subscription and let you know of the outcome. If an item is not purchased or subscribed to at the time of the request it will be added to the Wishlist (only viewable by Mines community).

Physical Resources

As previously stated, our library is e-preferred. However, not all resources are available electronically. When a title (book or journal) is not available electronically it will be purchased in print.

The Library may also choose to purchase print for resources that may be best presented in that format such as leisure or popular reading (Baker & Taylor Rental Collection), titles added to our Diversity, Inclusion & Access (DI&A) Collection, or Course Readings.

Retention of Physical Items

The Library is an agreement with the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries that we will retain certain titles within our collection. Libraries within the consortium retain these items in order to make sure a copy is available were another library to weed it or a user wants to request it. It is the responsibility of the Library to identify what should be retained.

Purchasing Multiple Copies

To make the Library’s funds reach further, we do not purchase duplicate copies. Rare exceptions may be made for our Course Readings Collection or to preserve a copy in our special collections or archives.

Binding and maintenance

Print journals are sent offsite to a commercial bindery on a schedule chosen to minimize disruption for patrons. Books in the main collection that are in poor physical shape are repaired in-house when possible. Special Collections items are preserved by specialized methods. The Library Technician for Bindery and Preservation oversees these decisions and processes.

Lost, Missing, or Damaged Items

Users are responsible for the items they check out. If an item is lost or damaged beyond use, the user will be charged a replacement fee (cost of the item or $100, whichever is less). The Library does not accept replacement copies. Items that are missing, lost, or damaged beyond repair are not automatically replaced, even when the library is reimbursed for these items. The decision to replace a book is made by Collection Management staff based on use, subject matter, and relevance to the needs of the faculty and students at Mines. For example, funds may be used to buy the latest edition of a title or a comparable title.

If a user loses an item and does not pay the replacement fee a hold will be placed on their account affecting their ability to check out items in the future. Additionally, as a student, having a hold will affect registration, graduation, and receiving transcripts.


Formal weeding (the deselection of library materials) projects are currently superseded by other projects. However, the Library may choose to weed materials based on condition, use, relevancy, electronic availability, or space needs.

Withdrawn materials may be offered to other libraries or discarded. Materials from the library collections cannot be withdrawn and sold to individuals.

Gifts & Donations

Due to staffing and space, the Library is not currently accepting physical donations for our general collection. This may change as staffing allows. However, there are two exceptions. First, we accept donations for the Course Readings Collection. Additionally, rare items of value to our special collections, maps, or government publications collections may be considered. Please view our Library Materials Donation policy for more information.

The Library reserves the right to decline a donation. If a donation is accepted, the items become property of the Library. The Library holds the right to determine the retention, location, circulation, and disposition of the gift. Items not added to the library collection will be disposed of or recycled and will not be returned to the original donor.

The Library accepts monetary donations that can be used to support the Library in numerous ways, including its collections. The Give to the Library program is available to all including the general public.

Multimedia Resources

For the Library’s general collection, we do not purchase DVDs, CDs, or any other multimedia. Streaming videos may be purchased or subscribed to related to curriculum needs.

Electronic Resources

Most recently published books and journals are available in electronic format. Access to eBooks and eJournals comes from firm orders for a title as well as package subscriptions, full-text databases, and Open Access sources. Participation in consortia deals has enabled access to all titles from some of the largest vendors (e.g., ScienceDirect from Elsevier).

Selective purchases of electronic backfiles of journals permit removal of older print runs of journals. Backfile purchases using 1-time money are actively pursued and will continue as budget permits and space needs dictate. Where possible, purchases are preferred over leases.

Electronic databases permit search and discovery of information in specialized subjects, or more general research including full text results. Search results in the discovery interface are dependent on continuation of the underlying subscriptions to databases and other electronic resources.

Licenses and Contracts

Access to electronic resources requires a signed license or contract, apart from click-through agreements that do not require a physical signature. All users should be aware of the terms and conditions they are agreeing to when using a product, creating an account, etc.

Licenses and contracts are legally binding documents and must be reviewed and signed by Mines Procurement prior to any final agreement on the part of the Library to add the resource. Library faculty cannot sign these documents. We ask all Library users to uphold the Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources. It is critical that all authorized users abide by the terms of the Library’s license agreements and this policy to ensure that the entire campus has access to electronic resources without interruption. A violation of the terms and conditions of license agreements can result in the temporary suspension or even termination of access to resources for all users.

Vendors may contact the Head of Collection Management to report problems such as excessive downloads from their product. Our policy is to treat these notifications as the highest priority since access to the resource for the entire campus is at risk.

Self-Hosted Digital Resources

In rare cases, the library will have the option to purchase digital copies of a resource that we are required to self-host. Currently, we do not have the option to privately self-host content. If the copyright holder agrees, the items can be placed in the Mines Repository with a signed agreement which would make it freely available online for all beyond Mines to access.

Open Access

The Library will provide access to useful Open Access journals, books, and other materials as needed or as requested by faculty and/or librarians to support educational and research goals of faculty and students. The Library supports the creation and dissemination of Open Access materials produced by Mines faculty, staff, and students and welcomes submission to Mines Repository. Additionally, the Library will prioritize publishers that allow for open access and more flexibility for Mines authors.


Due to the evolving nature and growing number of standards available it is not feasible for the Library to purchase single standards. Instead, select standards are made available through subscriptions. For more information and access to standards visit our Standards Research Guide.


Course Readings

The Library is committed to supporting Course Readings to lower textbook costs for students. Currently, the Library designates a portion of its materials budget to cover these expenses, but future budget allocations may alter our offerings. We recommend all faculty provide the library with the list of resources they will need 8 weeks (about 2 months) prior to the start of the semester. Requests can be submitted via the Suggest a Purchase form.

When a Course Reading is identified, the Library will prioritize purchasing an electronic copy over print for better, more equitable access for students. When purchasing an electronic copy an unlimited user eBook is preferred but not always available. If a Course Reading is only available for a single concurrent user, three copies will be purchased to allow more students to access at one time. The faculty may temporarily provide a copy of the text for our Course Readings collection. At the end of the semester, the faculty will be contacted about the text. They may choose to keep it on Course Readings for future semesters or retrieve it. Faculty are responsible for claiming all items before they retire or stop teaching the course. If the item is not picked up 6 months after the end of the course, or if the faculty member cannot be reached, it will be considered abandoned and will go through our donation processes.

Faculty may also donate a copy to the Library for Course Readings. This item would fall under the terms of the Library’s book donation policies.

Reference Collection

The Reference Collection supports the educational and research needs of the Mines community by providing current and retrospective reference information, focusing on STEM disciplines related to university programs. While many reference titles are electronic, we retain physical titles not available electronically as a cohesive browsing collection. Policies related to selection and retention vary by title. The Head of Research Services, in coordination with the Research team, makes all decisions related to this collection. Reference titles do not circulate.

Mines Authors

The Library will purchase titles written or edited by Mines faculty, staff, or students pertinent to the Library’s collection development priorities. A subset of these titles are available in our Mines Authors Collection in the Library’s catalog to virtually browse. Requests for additional titles in this collection can be submitted via the Suggest a Purchase form.

DI&A Featured Browsing Collection

The Library supports the Mines DI&A initiatives through the acquisitions of materials related to Diversity, Inclusion & Access. This collection should touch on many different aspects of diversity. A subset of these titles are available in our Diversity Collection in the Library’s catalog to virtually browse. Requests for additional titles in this collection can be submitted via the Suggest a Purchase form.

Baker & Taylor

The Baker & Taylor Rental Book program allows our library flexibility when it comes to popular/leisure reading. The titles for this collection are chosen by library staff based on the titles available and only 20% are kept for our permanent collection. The remaining titles are returned to Baker & Taylor.

Government Publications

Arthur Lakes Library has participated as a selective depository in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) since 1939 and an FDLP Preservation Steward since 2018. The collection serves the government information needs of the 7th Congressional District as well as the Mines community. Materials are available in paper, microfiche, and electronic formats, but access to Federal government information via the Internet is increasingly common. Most physical materials circulate in accordance with library policies. The Government Information Coordinator makes all decisions related to this collection. For more information, visit the Government Information Research Guide.

Map Room

The Arthur Lakes Library Map Room collects cartographic materials in all formats to support the mission of the Arthur Lakes Library and the Colorado School of Mines. Priority is given to materials based on geographic area and thematic content. Policies related to selection and retention of maps vary by geographic area and type of map. The Map & GIS Librarian makes all decisions related to the Map Room collections. For more information, visit the Maps and Geospatial Information Research Guide.

Russell L. & Lyn Wood Mining History Archive

The Russell L. & Lyn Wood Mining History Archive supports research on the history of mining and mining technologies, with emphasis on Colorado and the US West. Purchases for this collection emphasize rare, primary source materials and are funded primarily by Endowed accounts. Gifts are encouraged but all gifts must be pre-approved by the Head of Special Collections & Archives. Archive items do not circulate. Some very fragile materials may not be handled at all. The Head of Special Collections & Archives determines all policies for the Archive.

Colorado School of Mines Archive

The Colorado School of Mines Archive supports research and inquiry on the history of the university. Purchases for this collection are infrequent. Gifts are the primary source of acquisitions, but all gifts must be approved by the Head of Special Collections & Archives. Archive items do not circulate but may be loaned for display. The Head of Special Collections & Archives determines all policies for the Archive.

Information Center for Ropeway Studies (‘Ropeway Center’)

The Ropeway Center houses a comprehensive collection of information relative to the history, theory, design, and operation of ropeway systems including recreational and materials ropeways. Ropeway Center materials do not circulate. The Head of Special Collections & Archives makes all policy decisions related to the Ropeway collection.

Tell Ertl Oil Shale Repository

The Tell Ertl Oil Shale Repository was established to support research on oil shale and the oil shale industry, with an emphasis on Colorado and the US West. Items in the Repository do not circulate. The Head of Special Collections & Archives makes all policy decisions related to the Tell Ertl collection.

Mines Repository

The Mines Repository’s purpose is to collect, record, and provide permanent open online access to and archive the research and scholarship of the Colorado School of Mines, including Mines theses and dissertations. Select Special Collection materials are also available.