Since the University Library is a general-purpose academic library and the main library of Belgrade University, its planned and systematic collection development is achieved through selective acquisition. The development of the Library collection is oriented mainly towards the acquisition of general-type and fundamental works from all the spheres of science, as opposed to faculty-type libraries, which acquire mainly publications from specific areas, with special emphasis being put on publications from various disciplines of the humanities.
The University Library acquires and maintains valuable collections of complete editions, the most fundamental works and reference publications in printed or electronic form.
According to the University Act, from 1945 onwards copies of all Ph.D. theses defended in Yugoslavia had to be deposited with the Library; starting from the 1990’s, only those defended at the University of Belgrade have been received on a regular basis.
What is of special importance is the acquisition of textbooks, domestic and foreign university publications and publications about universities. The fundamental way of collection development is the purchase of books, because it offers a possibility of adequate selection. Since it is directly dependent on the funding, it is not the only way of developing the collection. That is why the traditional exchange of books and periodicals with about 250 institutions from abroad is so important. Even in the worst periods in the history of the Library, the exchange of scientific periodicals went on uninterrupted in the case of more than one hundred such journals.
The Library gets various publications as gifts from institutions such as faculties, scientific associations, academies, faculty departments, institutes, but also from users, university lecturers, scientists, researchers, writers. Some gifts are received from authors themselves or they consist of parts of or complete private libraries. The Library has quite a number of valuable legacies. A particularly valuable gift of domestic publications has come from the Yugoslav Information and Bibliographic Institute.