Accounting for Library Materials & Collections

This guidance establishes when costs for library materials & collections, and library special collections must be capitalized at the university.

General Library Materials: A library book is generally a literary composition bound into a separate volume and identifiable as a separate copyrighted unit. Library reference materials are information sources other than books which include journals, microforms, audio/visual media, computer-based information, manuscripts, maps, documents, and similar items which provide information essential to the learning process or which enhance the quality of academic, professional or research libraries.

Rare Library Books and Special Collections: A collection or individual items of significance that are owned by a state agency which are not held for financial gain, but rather for public exhibition, education, or research in furtherance of public service; and are protected and cared for or preserved and subject to an organizational policy that requires the proceeds from sales of collection items to be used to acquire other items for collections.


  1. There are two types of library materials and collections:
    • General library materials
    • Rare library books and special collections
  2. General Library
    ​​​​​​​Campuses will capitalize the net value for general library. This value includes total annual acquisitions, including gifts, and processing expenditures associated with the preparation of library materials less withdrawals and disposal.
  3. General Special Collection
    The value of special collections will be recorded in the local equipment inventory system either as individual items, grouping of items, or as collection in total.
  4. Rare Books and Collections
    Campuses will capitalize the net value (total annual acquisitions, including gifts, and processing expenditures less withdrawals and disposals) for rare or museum-type books and other rare library collections.
  5. Accounting
    Prior to fiscal year-end closing, the campus libraries will provide accounting office with actual or estimated expenditures for both "general" and “rare” library materials plus acquisition processing for the current fiscal year-end.