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Collection Development Policies

Information for faculty and students regarding the collection development policies of the Graduate Institute Library

General Selection Criteria

The main acquisition criteria are the content and the level of the books, and their relevance for the research and teaching fields of the Institute. 

  • Level: Selected books must have an academic, graduate or research level.
  • Language: The acquisition languages are mainly English and French, but books in Spanish about Latin America are also purchased. Books in German or Italian are also occasionally selected. Books whose original language is English or French are usually bought in the original language only.


The Graduate Institute Library gratefully accepts donations for the development of its collections. Of primary interest are potential gifts which are unique, rare and/or have significant provenance, or those that complete existing collection.
Due to space limitations and the cost of handling donations, the Graduate Institute Library must be selective in what can be accepted.

In general, the library will not accept the following materials:

  • Dirty, marked, worn and torn items
  • Hardcover books (more than 10 years old)
  • Textbooks
  • Paperbacks
  • Encyclopedias
  • Periodicals  (Exceptions: Issues which fill gaps in our current collections)
  • Working papers, reports.

As far as possible, the donor must arrange for material to be delivered to the Graduate Institute Library.


Documents no longer useful to the library can be discarded. The main deselection criteria are:

  • subject non-relevant for the Institute
  • non-academic level
  • obsolescence
  • physical condition
  • circulation record
  • availability online or in another Geneva library

Documents dealing with core subjects of the collection, such as international law, international politics or development, are not deselected.