Student in front of the library.

Purchasing policies

Here you can read about how the library works with the purchasing of information resources. The information below describes which types of materials are available in the library's assortment of media and how they are chosen.

Target groups

The Södertörn University Library is a public library and is open to everyone. Students, teachers and researchers at Södertörn University, however, are the library’s priority, and we strive to meet these groups’ needs with a sustained supply of relevant literature and information.

Our assortment of media

The library provides all of the university’s areas of research with information resources. We have a user-driven acquisition system meaning that a significant part of our collections are composed of resources which teachers, researchers and students have suggested for purchase. This model for purchasing aims to construct relevant collections which will prove useful. A large part of our electronic resources are purchased in packages, where all titles are not specifically chosen, for example, different packages of journals.

The idea that all the materials we purchase should be relevant to the courses and research at Södertörn University is fundamental.

The most basic principle is to purchase electronic versions of materials, as opposed to printed, where possible. By doing so, we make it possible for a greater number of people to use the same resource at the same time, at home or on the university campus, whenever they wish.

On the question of whether to borrow materials from other libraries or purchase them ourselves we often choose to purchase them.

We purchase only a single copy of printed books, excluding course literature. Most often such books are made available for loan, although on some occasions books are purchased for reference use only, within the library.

Purchase suggestions

The library’s system for purchasing is largely user-driven, meaning students, teachers, researchers and external lenders are encouraged to suggest purchases of books, journals and electronic resources. There is a “suggest a purchase” form on the library website. The person who suggested the purchase will be contacted when the book is available (if reservation of the item was requested when the suggestion was received) or when the library’s subscription to a journal begins. In the “suggest a purchase” form you are given the option of requesting an e-book (if the book is available in e-book format).

Interlibrary loans

Relevant literature which is not available in our library can be ordered as an interlibrary loan from libraries both inside and outside Sweden. If a book, for example, is available at a library in the Stockholm region students and external lenders must organise collection of the item themselves. All interlibrary loan orders are considered potential purchase suggestions. If a book is relevant to the university’s courses and research, and can be delivered within a reasonable timeframe, in most cases we would rather purchase it than order an interlibrary loan.

Interlibrary loan orders from the National Library of Sweden’s (Kungliga biblioteket) audiovisual collections must be placed via the Swedish Media Database (Svensk mediedatabas). The materials will then be sent to us and can be borrowed using the library’s interlibrary loans system.

Course literature

We have a generous attitude towards course literature and offer more course books per student than most other colleges and universities. The number of obligatory course literature we buy is dependent upon the number of students registered on the course. We buy one copy per ten students, one of which is made available for day-loan. For example:

  • one day-loan + one seven-day loan between twenty students (minimum)
  • one day-loan + four seven-day loan between fifty students
  • one day-loan + nine seven-day loan between one hundred students (maximum)

If a book is available as an e-book, which allows an unlimited number of people to read it at the same time, the e-book version will be purchased and replace all printed copies of the book in the library. If the electronic version allows only one reader at a time (single-user) it will be purchased and replace the day-loan copy, whilst printed versions of the book will be purchased for seven-day loan.

In cases where fewer than one hundred pages of obligatory course literature are to be read, one copy of the book will be purchased for day-loan.

Sometimes as part of the obligatory course literature references to articles from journals which the library does not subscribe to are listed. In these instances it is necessary for students to obtain them by other means, such as via an interlibrary loan.

Reference- , extended- and optional- reading books mentioned in the literature list are purchased according to the following criterion:

If the book is available as an e-book it will be purchased, otherwise one printed copy of the book is purchased and made available for seven-day loan.

Optional (not obligatory) literature should be available in the form of one day-loan copy of the book and one seven-day loan copy of the book. If an e-book version of the book is available it will be purchased and replace all printed copies in the library.

Books which are sold-out at bookshops are purchased from second-hand bookshops, where available. Availability can be limited, but we will make every effort to purchase the number of copies we require.

Films which a teacher needs for a lecture are purchased on the condition that permission is granted by the relevant school. Teachers are required to contact the library if we are to purchase a film for this reason.

Course literature is only available for loan by students and members of staff at Södertörn University.

The provision of literature for students with learning impairments

Students with reading and writing impairments, studying at Södertörn University, can be given access to modified versions of course literature. If a book is not available at the Swedish Agency for Accessible Media (MTM) an order for it to be produced can be placed. If materials which are not available from MTM are requested, for example, compendiums and articles the library will contact a lecturer and arrange for their production locally. Both e-book platforms, Dawsonera and Ebrary, which the library uses, support voice synthesiser software.


The collection of journals consists of in part packages of journal subscriptions, and in part by direct subscriptions. In order to receive the best terms of use and pricing packages of subscriptions we agree them as part of a national consortium. If a journal is available for purchase in both printed and electronic versions, we opt for electronic version. E-journals (electronic journals) should be able accessible from computers throughout the university, as well as from home by members of staff and students.


As with other purchasing, the purchase of databases is user-driven and our collection should reflect the areas of education and research at the university. We analyse user-statistics and database pertinence on a regular basis in order to maintain as relevant an assortment of resources as possible.


Most of our e-books are available on two e-book platforms, Dawsonera and Ebrary. We also have the possibility to purchase e-books from these two service providers. When purchasing we choose the seller that offers the version with unlimited, simultaneous use (readership). If this version is not available a single-user version is purchased.

Learning materials

The library has a collection of learning materials which reflects the learning materials currently being used in the Swedish primary- and secondary- education system. We continue to purchase learning materials which are judged to be relevant to the university’s teaching courses. The collection is composed of publications from the larger publishers of learning materials, but also purchase suggestions. The collection is available to everyone.


The library purchases films requested by teachers and researchers at Södertörn University. Purchases are made on the condition that the film is for research purposes or is to be used in a teaching context. In addition to that permission must have been granted by the relevant school for purchase to be made.

Computer- and board- games

Södertörn University has research and courses in the area of gaming. The library purchases games for these areas following suggestions from researchers and teachers at the university, primarily those engaged in Media Technology (Mediateknik). One of the conditions for such purchases is that the games are to be used for research purposes and/or are required course materials. Games can be borrowed by researchers, teachers and students on the Games programme (Spelprogrammet) within Media Technology.


The library accepts donations judged to be of relevance to the university’s areas of learning and research. One of the conditions for donating is that the library is free to use and redistribute donated materials as is deemed appropriate.