Through CRL, knowledgeable individuals at college, university, and independent research libraries in the United States, Canada and Hong Kong work together to identify, preserve, and acquire collections that support advanced research and teaching. CRL promotes the efforts of these communities of interest by maintaining and providing access to the extensive shared collections they build. Three longstanding collection building programs enable CRL libraries to expand the range of essential source materials available to researchers at their institutions while minimizing local acquisition, processing and storage costs.
CRL’s Head of Membership Development and Engagement works with librarians, faculty, and students from member libraries to identify and select materials for addition to CRL collections.
Collections at CRL are also built by specialized "communities of interest" working under the CRL umbrella. Chief among those cooperative efforts are the Area Materials Projects and Global Resources Programs, which preserve and provide for researchers important documentation from all world regions. Librarians, area specialists and scholars identify materials that are at-risk and/or not readily available to North American researchers and facilitate access through microfilming, digitization, description, and other means. These efforts focus on six major world areas: