Reading List Policy

Library and Learning Resources is committed to working in partnership with colleagues in academic departments, to provide the best possible range of information resources, within budgetary constraints, to support them and their students.

This document is the Library and Learning Resources response to a request by academic staff for some clarification and guidance on how the Library and Learning Resources and academic staff can work together to enhance students' experiences of working with reading lists.

Although this document refers to reading lists throughout there is a recognition that staff may wish to recommend resources to their students such as web sites, DVDs, podcasts, artefacts and images, in addition to reading books and journal articles.

Reading List Policy

Summary Guidance

Reading lists are most helpful if they are:

  • Realistic to ensure that sufficient copies of resources are available, subject to budgetary constraints.
  • Accurate so that students can find the correct resource, including the relevant editions and in the right format.
  • Updated on Moodle and in printed documentation simultaneously to ensure students have consistent information across formats and regardless of how they access the reading lists.
  • Include a clear indication of which books and articles are available electronically through the use of computer mouse icon available at
  • Reflect up-to-date web addresses (URLs) that have been checked when the reading list is updated, or at least annually as they change frequently: Linking to online resources
  • Provided to the Library and Learning Resources in good time and ideally 2 months before items are required.

Content of Reading Lists

To ensure the most appropriate resources are available for students, the content of reading lists should take into account the student cohort size, the mode of attendance, method and place of delivery and the anticipated use of resources. It is recognised that the availability of academic textbooks and journals (electronic or print) through the medium of Welsh is a considerable challenge, so it would be useful to note this if the module is being delivered in Welsh or bilingually to manage student expectations.

In order to meet student demand for access to resources it is vital they are available in electronic format if at all possible.

Essential Reading

Material which is an essential part of the course and which students are expected to draw on as a core part of their learning experience and in order to complete assignments satisfactorily.

  • The Library and Learning Resources aims to purchase 1 copy (electronic or print) per 10 students, up to a maximum of 8 copies.
  • It is recognised that in some subject areas only a small number of titles are regarded as essential, whereas some fields require a larger number of texts.
  • It is expected that the majority will contain no more than 7 items; however there will be instances where no more than 2 items is appropriate. The absolute maximum number of items to be included as essential on a reading list is up to 15 items.
  • If available for institutional use from an approved supplier an e-book will be purchased, subject to cost.

Further Reading

Materials which supplement or enhance essential reading; it is expected that students will read at least some material from this category, to broaden and deepen understanding of the subject beyond the basic, and thus enhance performance in assessments.

  • The Library and Learning Resources will endeavour to purchase material in this category to meet the needs of all students studying the module.
  • The Library and Learning Resources aims to purchase 1 copy (electronic or print) per 50 students, up to a maximum of 8 copies may be requested. 
  • Material in this category will be purchased in smaller quantities and in some cases only 1 copy may be purchased (depending on the size of the list and the cost of the resource).
  • The absolute maximum number of items to be included as further reading on a reading list is up to 25 items, plus digitised chapters / articles as appropriate and within Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) guidelines.

Referencing Styles

Please ensure the referencing style used for the reading list is both appropriate to the discipline and also one advised for student use via Programme Handbooks or Referencing Guides. This will ensure students can locate the correct resource, including the right edition and in the precise format. The Library and Learning Resources can advise staff and students on the effective use of referencing and bibliographic software tools, both subscription and open source.

Advice and Support

The Library and Learning Resources will provide advice and support for resource planning; contribute to the revision and approval of module specifications and reading lists and provide input on reading list content at the programme design and development stage: Contact us here

Monitoring and Review

The policy and summary guidance will be reviewed annually, in liaison with academic staff to ensure continued effectiveness.

Version 1.1: May 2016