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Collection Development. January 30, 2002. Topics. What is collection development? Why is collection development important? What does collection development mean to my library? What does collection development mean as a member of the consortium?. Overview. Select and purchase materials

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collection development

Collection Development

January 30, 2002

  • What is collection development?
  • Why is collection development important?
  • What does collection development mean to my library?
  • What does collection development mean as a member of the consortium?
  • Select and purchase materials
  • Rid your library of obsolete material
  • Maximize time spent on collection building
  • Examine policy
  • Provide collegial atmosphere to discuss issues
collection development is
Collection development is:
  • Identification
  • Selection
  • Acquisition
  • Evaluation...

of a collection of library resources

  • Acquisitions/selection
    • Gifts/Donations
  • Weeding
  • Preservation
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • Ranganathan
    • Books are for use
    • Every reader his book
    • Every book its reader
    • Save the time of the reader
    • A library is a “living organism”
quality vs demand
Quality vs. demand
  • Which statements are true?
    • Libraries are funded by taxpayers therefore we should provide high demand items that the public wants
    • Libraries should provide materials that raise the cognitive level of the user (library as people’s university)
both statements are true
Both statements are true!
  • Its our job to balance between the two philosophies
  • How do you make demand vs quality decisions in your library?
  • Does your library mission statement address either or both philosophies?
know your community
Know your community
  • Patron reading levels
  • Occupations, businesses, recreation activities in your community
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Mean age (average)
  • Education level
  • Ethnic groups
examples please
Examples please
  • What specific criteria do you use to better know your community?
stay current
Stay current
  • News
  • Events
  • Popular culture trends
      • TV, Movies, Theatre
      • Talk radio
      • Current best sellers
      • Visiting artists, authors
selection criteria
Selection Criteria
  • Subject matter
      • What weaknesses exist in the collection?
      • How suitable are subject, style, reading level?
      • How accurate is the information?
  • Potential use
      • What kind of demand is there?
      • What level of use justifies purchase?
      • How relevant is it to my community?
  • Relation to the collection
      • How will item strengthen, fill a gap, complement the collection?
      • Are the materials available elsewhere in the community?
        • What about OWLSnet?
      • Is there fair coverage of opposing viewpoints?
  • Bibliographic considerations
      • Reputation of the publisher
      • Is the type of publication or format appropriate to your library?
      • What is the reputation/significance of the author?
      • What do book reviews say?
      • Book club edition?
      • Bookstore editions
        • Barnes and Noble?
  • Cost
      • Expense vs. worth
      • Ranking materials for worthiness
      • Prioritize by collection need
  • Construction quality
      • Is the item well made?
      • What is the paper and print quality?
        • Examples of poor quality?
          • Scholastic
      • Will it stand up to multiple uses?
  • Fiction
      • What are community interests and needs?
      • What is library mission statement?
        • What is guideline for multiple copies?
      • How much space do I have to allocate?
      • Should I have books from all major authors, or just some?
        • How do you decide?
        • What is the impact on or in spite of the consortium?
      • Authority of author/publisher
      • Currency
      • Duplication
      • Scope
      • Interest level
      • Organization
Nonfiction continued
      • Format
      • Special features
      • Cost
      • Accuracy
      • Impartiality
selection tools
Selection tools
  • Book reviews
      • descriptive and evaluative
      • compare with other works
      • be aware of the objectivity of the reviewer
Limitations of book reviews
      • length of time between publication and review
      • small % of books actually published
      • small presses often not reviewed
      • many books only reviewed by one source
  • LJDigital
  • NY Times
  • Oprah’s list
  • Publishers BookWire
  • Magazines for comic reviews
  • Best books 2001
  • Online bookstores –

do not overlook the reviews posted at online bookstores!

  • (search by subject)
great info but
Great info but…
  • I don’t have time to read reviews
hints for saving time
Hints for saving time
  • School Library Journal, 2001 (in folder)
      • Don’t read reviews for books you know you will order!
      • Look for paperbacks- cost less but weigh against use, wear and tear and processing costs
      • Look at starred or highly rated reviews
        • End of year lists you will purchase anyway
      • For NFI know your dollar amount before you start reading reviews
        • Have your calculator at your side for totals!
hints for saving time27
Hints for saving time
  • Anticipate need- devote the $
    • Know school curriculum
      • Types of ongoing projects (5th grade state reports, biographies)
hints for saving time28
Hints for saving time
  • Skim reviews
    • praise or criticism is usually at beginning or end
    • zero in on age appropriateness
  • Go to bookstores (in your spare time!)
      • What is on display? If it doesn't move its gone the next week!
      • Can this apply to your library?
hints for saving time29
Hints for saving time
  • Don’t be swayed by each positive/negative comment
  • Read the summary
  • Watch the wording
    • “challenging” in what sense, can be good or bad!
  • Beware of age recommendations
    • consider the source, not all reviewers are children's librarians!
hints for saving time30
Hints for saving time
  • SLJ
  • PrePub Alerts
  • Alan review
selecting av materials
Selecting AV materials
  • Why do we collect audiovisual stuff?
      • ADA requirements
      • Provide audio and music for sampling and listening
      • Provide appropriate materials to people who require graphic displays for comprehension
      • Provide people with access to scores, games etc to support educational pursuits
        • How do you decide what is educational?
selection criteria for av
Selection Criteria for AV
  • Consider primary users
      • What is the available budget?
      • Durability?
      • Visual and audio quality?
      • Ease of repair if damaged?
      • Type of equipment required to view or listen?
      • Likelihood of technology to last?
video and dvd materials
Video and DVD materials
  • Expensive
  • Require machine to view
  • Short lifespan (VHS)
  • Easily damaged
  • Popular for short time - much like bestsellers
video considerations
Video considerations
  • What is the level of violence, comedy, sexual content?
  • What is the age appropriateness?
  • What message is conveyed by the video?
  • Does your library act as a video store?
  • Use your library Mission statement, philosophy of board as guidelines
audio considerations
Audio considerations
  • How does the audio collection support your library goals?
    • Do you duplicate or supplement print titles?
  • Does the collection focus on certain genres?
  • Will you collect complete works or abridged versions?
  • How durable is the product (cassette vs. CD)?
  • What is overall quality of the recording?
  • How do you select periodicals?
      • How does being an OWLSnet member affect your purchasing decisions?
      • Discussion
periodical purchasing considerations
Periodical purchasing considerations
  • Track Ill requests
  • Build core collection by addressing
    • general needs collection
    • need for currency
    • costs
      • cost to bind
      • photocopy use
      • back issues/claims
      • time consuming _and_ expensive
periodical selection
Periodical selection
  • What is the intended:
      • Scope
        • who are the editors, publishers, associations?
      • Audience
        • how do you know what it is?
          • Examine table of contents, publisher, vocabulary, writers, contributors
      • Purpose
        • does it fill a need for your patrons?
periodical criteria
Periodical criteria
  • Local interest
  • Accuracy- how do you know this?
  • Indexes- where is the title indexed?
  • Cost - consider all the costs involved
  • Demand - can you justify its use?
    • Is the use so low that you can get issues from within the consortium?
what about owlsnet databases
What about OWLSnet databases?

What do you have in print vs. what is available online?

How do you verify this?

  • Badgerlink
  • Gale databases
  • First Search
  • Netlibrary
online periodical lists
Online periodical lists
  • Do you check to see if the serial is available online?
  • Online serials:
  • Online newspapers:
  • Serials in cyberspace:
what about comic books
What about comic books?
  • Evaluating comic books:
      • Popularity. Monthly lists of the top-selling comics titles are readily available in fan magazines and trade journals.
      • Tie-ins to TV shows, movies, video games, and toys.
      • Writing quality, including originality of plot and characters, overall appeal, character development, dialogue, and pacing
comic books
Comic books
  • Evaluating
      • Artistic quality, including layout, dramatic impact, storytelling flow, drawing skill, coloring (where relevant), and lettering.
      • Artistic style, especially regarding distinctive styles such as manga or cartoon art.
      • Reputation of writers and artists, many of whom have strong fan followings
comic books44
Comic books
  • Evaluating
      • Reputation of publisher (mature themes, controversy)
      • Awards and recognition received. Industry awards include: Eisner, Harvey and Kirby. Fan awards include: Comics Buyers Guide Fan Awards and Usenet Squiddies.
      • Color versus black & white. Newer readers may not be used to b&w comics.
      • Age appropriateness
  • Evaluating
      • Genre. Super-hero and fantasy titles continue to be most prevalent but also consider:
        • sci fi
        • humor
        • realistic fiction
        • other styles
Comics Code Authority
    • Self-regulated by publishers
Discussion- Purchasing and adding comic books, tabloids to your collection
    • Coverage in mission statement
  • Peg Burington - Waupaca Library
what about women
What about women?
  • Depiction of women in comic books
    • Discussion
depiction of women in comics
Depiction of women in comics
  • Familiarize yourself with the two genres:
    • bad-girl
      • Dirty pair
      • Danger girl
    • babe comics
      • Xena
      • Vampirella
      • Alley Cat
      • ect
Collections in other languages
    • How many libraries have other language collections?
      • What languages are represented within OWLSnet?
languages other than english
Languages other than English
  • How do you start building the collection?
    • How is it different from building any collection?
      • Is it different?
      • Do community analysis
  • Address the collection in your policies
    • Defend the expenditure which may appear to serve a limited population
    • Does the policy address serving segments of the population?
      • Use census figures
      • Estimate current and potential users that will benefit
other languages
Other languages
  • Do you have staff that are trained or capable of meeting the needs of a non-English community?
    • Could a community member assist you in the input of selection of materials?
    • Could a community member assist in programming? Get you in touch with someone who could?
    • See insert - 10 reasons why we buy Spanish books
      • helpful to make policy decisions!
spanish selection
Spanish selection
  • Recommended sources:
        • The Center for the study of books in Spanish for children and adolescents
        • children’s books in Spanish (NYPL) arranged by genre
spanish language
Spanish language
  • Críticas - School Library Journal - latest titles
  • Spanish Book News
      • adult collection purchases- fiction, nonfiction
  • Meet back here at 1:00.
  • Why, oh why, weed indeed?
  • Weeding is part of the continual evaluation of the collection
    • based on community need and goals.
      • Collections change within the framework of those needs and goals.
weeding and pruning
Weeding and pruning
  • Why is it necessary?
    • Keep plants a particular size
      • Space on shelves means easier browsing
    • Remove diseased parts, broken and injured parts
      • Duty to provide current information, if its on the shelf its worthy to have
      • If its torn, crumbly or soiled- get rid of it
    • Develop certain shapes, forms
      • You need a plan to shape plants, growth creates imbalance
weeding and pruning58
Weeding and pruning
  • Encourage best growth
    • Careful pruning promotes growth.
    • New colorful materials on shelves promotes use.
  • Rejuvenate declining plants
    • Is there a problem subject area?
    • Is it rarely used? Can it be eliminated?
  • Pruning and weeding are an ongoing process
benefits to weeding
Benefits to weeding!
  • Save shelf space
  • Save search time in database
  • Circ increases as remaining items are visible!
  • Collection quality improves- unreliable info GONE!
benefits to weeding60
Benefits to weeding
  • Librarians doing weeding gain better understanding of weeded area!
  • Better reference service as staff discover new or forgotten resources!
  • Reputation and usability of collection is enhanced!
  • False or dangerous info is eliminated!
  • Presenting:
  • Carolyn Habeck HPL
  • Ann Hunt NLP
  • Craig Lahm KAU
why don t we weed
Why don’t we weed?
  • Not enough time
  • Just cannot throw anything away!
  • What if someone needs what I just pitched?
  • No money to replace weeded material
  • Weeding will leave nothing on the shelves
  • What if something valuable gets thrown out?
  • Weeding means that a mistake was made in ordering
  • Status of a “large” collection
when should we weed
When should we weed?
  • One time per year
      • Schedule sections by Dewey number or by collections
      • Request weeding reports from OWLS (BJS)
  • When new items can no longer be shelved for lack of space!
  • Every time items are returned
weeding criteria
Weeding Criteria
    • M misleading
    • U ugly
    • S superceded
    • T trivial
    • I irrelevant
    • E elsewhere
weeding fiction
Weeding fiction
  • Is this novel still asked for?
  • Is the book part of a series?
    • If you have one of the series?
  • Will this item circ if I add it to a display?
  • Is the author still writing?
weeding fiction67
Weeding fiction
  • If w/d a title based on condition, can it be replaced with a more attractive copy?
  • Am I unfamiliar with this genre?
  • Do I need to look up core authors?
  • Is it up to date in style, setting?
    • Does it matter?
weeding fiction68
Weeding fiction
  • Has the item circulated in two years?
  • Worn titles are worth replacing! Someone is reading them! (use the circ reports to determine)
  • Series titles are often meant to be read in order- try to maintain the complete run!
    • If the first title in the series circs but not the rest of the series- consider weeding!
weeding nonfiction
Weeding Nonfiction
  • Weed by Dewey Number!
    • 000 - General/Computer Info
      • computer info outdated in 3 years
    • 100 - Philosophy and psychology
      • popular titles outdated 2-3 years
    • 200 - Religion and mythology
      • does religion collection reflect your community?
      • keep current, high turnover rate
weeding by dewey number
Weeding by Dewey Number
  • 300 - Social sciences
    • replace almanacs every 2 years
      • circ older almanacs no more than 3-5 years
    • check law and government for accuracy (school reports)
    • watch balance of controversial topics
  • 400 - Languages
    • foreign and ESL high use, replace as necessary based on community needs
weeding by dewey number71
Weeding by Dewey Number
  • 500 - Pure sciences
    • retain basic historical works (Darwin) but continuously replace outdated
  • 600 - Applied sciences
    • health /medical change rapidly
    • consider danger of misinformation on shelves
    • keep all collector and repair model books
  • 700 - Arts and Recreation
    • keep art and history until worn out
    • evaluate for accuracy though
weeding by dewey number72
Weeding by Dewey number
  • 800 - Literature
    • Keep most recent editions and best condition
    • Form literary criticism booklist from local school lists
      • Middle and high school have different needs
  • 900 - History/travel/biography
    • Evaluate for demand, accuracy, interpretation
    • Strive for balance of perspective
    • Travel books 2 years
    • Biography- stay current with popular figures
YA and Children's selection?
      • Do not buy abridged copies when original is readily available
      • Use adult criteria for nonfiction
      • Replace worn-out classics
      • Avoid flimsy bindings (Scholastic, DK)
      • Buy picture books based on good illustrations
      • YA- look for oversimplification and avoid it
      • Avoid the following pubs:
        • Rigby, Playmore, Children’s Press, Landolls, Excelsior
weeding reference
Weeding Reference
  • Encyclopedias
      • Annual replacement
      • City directories keep for genealogical purposes (but shelve in different location)
  • Do you have to buy directories?
      • Most are available online!
  • Vertical File
      • Only current year
weeding reference75
Weeding reference
  • Dictionaries, atlases
    • as new editions become available replace
  • Magazines and Newspapers
    • 1-3 years current
    • transfer to microfilm - keep forever
  • When deciding to replace audiovisual materials consider format
    • DVD instead of VHS
    • CD instead of cassette
  • Wisconsin collection materials
    • Watch for new editions but be careful with one of a kind pieces
    • Keep hiking, biking books current, please!
now i have a pile of stuff
Now I have a pile of stuff…
  • Keep but mend
    • Newer edition?
    • Can I replace new for cheaper?
    • Ask yourself one last time- do I need this?
  • Replace with new copy
  • Pitch
    • Book sale
    • Give away
    • Destroy...
repair guidelines
Repair guidelines
  • Don’t repair
    • Board books
    • Mass market paperbacks
    • Multiple copies of high demand
    • Annuals
    • Incomplete sets (print or audiovisual)
online vendors
Online Vendors
  • Igram’s Ipage
      • books, audio, soon to be added, videos
        • standing orders for popular fiction
        • award winners by lists
        • cart management
        • publisher profiles
        • current high interest titles
baker taylor
Baker & Taylor
  • How many of you use it?
      • Benefits?
      • Drawbacks?
collection development policies
Collection Development Policies


  • … in reality collection development policies help the library operate in a clearly defined and documented way
  • …bringing together all that we discussed today!
why are policies important
Why are policies important?
  • Point of reference for staff to consult when deciding to acquire, keep, discard items
  • By following guidelines you maintain consistency in decision making
    • staff turnover
    • changes in funding
  • Serves as reinforcement for challenges
elements of the policy
Elements of the policy
  • Define community needs through a profile
  • Collection goals
  • Selection responsibility
  • Selection criteria
  • Acquisitions
  • Collection evaluation and assessment
  • Weeding
  • Reconsideration of materials (handling challenges)
Community profile/needs assessment
        • describe community the library serves, service area, general goals or mission
        • elements of the profile can be included in general statement
      • NLP
        • A knowledge of the community is a vital ingredient in the responsible selection of library materials. There must be knowledge of residents' interests, capacities and problems, plus knowledge of the geographical and building patterns that affect the placement of materials to satisfy the residents' needs.
Collection goals
      • defines what priorities exist for collection building
      • Kaukauna Public Library
        • The library will strive to provide materials and electronic resources that:
        • A. Are culturally significant
        • B. Contain reliable information
        • C. Be of demonstrable entertainment value
        • D. Satisfy the recreational and informal educational interests of adult and juvenile residents of the City of Kaukauna.
chicago public library
Chicago Public Library
  • We welcome and support all people in their
  • enjoyment of reading and pursuit of lifelong learning.
  • Working together, we strive to provide equal access to information, ideas and knowledge through books, programs and other resources.
  • We believe in the freedom to read, to learn and to discover.
selection responsibility
Selection responsibility
  • How many of you do all the selecting?
  • How many of you have a policy to back up selection decisions?
selection responsibility90
Selection responsibility
  • Better to have more than one person select to avoid biases and permit discussion.
    • Not always possible in smaller libraries!
  • If you are a lone selector you could organize a community panel to determine what to select or discard
selection criteria91
Selection criteria
  • Policies should include description of criteria within specific subject areas, including formats
  • Identify if possible criteria for books, media, periodicals, electronic resources, and Internet resources.
  • Consider including statements about age levels
  • Consider including statement about subject areas
  • Consider statement about materials in languages other than English
selection criteria92
Selection criteria
  • Examples of statements
      • The library will collect non-fiction in all subject areas, including opposing viewpoint
      • The majority of best-selling fiction materials will be purchased during the extent of their popularity.
      • The selectors will acquire only those items favorably reviewed in two or more selection aids.
      • The library will not select items that contain violent or sensational material.
      • The library will only select items that reflect the needs of our community.
selection criteria93
Selection criteria
  • APL policy:
  • Selection of materials may be influenced by many factors, including but not limited to the following:
    • a. budgetary considerations
    • b. physical limitations of the library building
    • c. suitability of the format and construction
    • d. availability of specialized materials in other local libraries
    • e. availability of material through interlibrary loan
    • f. the need for added materials in subject areas
    • g. the special needs of library patrons for materials in accessible formats
APL selection continued:
    • The final responsibility for material selection lies with the Library Director. The responsibility for initial selection of materials is shared by professional members of the staff. Recommendations from the public are welcomed
    • Items having widespread demand may or may not meet the general criteria contained in this policy. However, demand is a valid factor in book selection and it shall be considered an important factor in cases such as books on bestseller lists for which there is persistent local demand.
  • MAN
    • Responsibility for the selection of material rests with the library director with input from staff and the public. The director operates within the framework of this policy in making selection decisions.
statement about language purchases
Statement about language purchases
  • Not necessary to include but useful to validate spending money on items that appear to serve a limited segment of the population
    • readies your position if questioned
  • Remember that official figures underestimate ESL populations
    • Can you estimate benefit by potential users?
      • How?
  • Describe acquisitions processes
    • most libraries do not do this
  • Describe gift policy
gifts donations
  • The most diplomatic and appropriate way to address donations is ...
gift policy
Gift Policy
  • Written policy should state:
    • Conditions for acceptance
    • Selection criteria for new materials will be applied to gifts
    • Detail which books you will not accept (reference 5+ years, textbooks)
    • Reserve the right to accept, sell, reject or otherwise dispose of donated materials
    • If possible have donors sign a form that donations were made without restriction


        • The library accepts gifts of books and other materials with the understanding that they will be added to the collection only if appropriate and needed. If they are not needed because of duplication, condition, or dated information the director can dispose of them as he/she sees fit. The same criteria of selection which are applied to purchased materials are applied to gifts...
evaluation assessment
Evaluation & assessment
  • Indicate formulas or methods used
  • Collection strengths and weaknesses
    • "The collection needs continuous evaluation in order to be sure that the Library is fulfilling its mission to provide materials in a timely manner to meet patrons' interests and needs. Statistical tools such as circulation reports, collection turnover rates, fill rates, reference fill rates, shelf allotments, and volume counts are studied to determine how the collection is being used and how it should change to answer patron usage.... Patron input and community surveys are also used in evaluating the collection...."
evaluation assessment104
Evaluation & assessment
  • NLP
    • When judging the quality of materials several standards and combinations of standards may be used, as some materials may be judged primarily on artistic merit, while others are considered because of scholarship, value as human documents, or ability to satisfy the recreational entertainment needs of the community.
  • Include weeding guidelines and criteria
  • Protects library when discarding material
  • APL:
  • The library collection will be kept attractive and current by a continual program of repairing, discarding or replacing worn and out-dated materials.
      • The library follows a systematic weeding procedure. Its purpose is to maintain an active, useful and current collection. Items of limited use are eliminated to make room for more useful materials. On a regular, rotating basis, librarians and staff review the different assigned areas of the collection. Basic criteria to consider when reviewing an item for withdrawal are:
  • Use -- Items that have not circulated during a specified number of years may be considered for withdrawal.
  • Subject coverage -- The relation of the item to others in the same subject. Superseded editions -- Older editions will not be retained unless they have unique value to the collection.
  • Duplicate copies -- Duplicates are retained when demand calls for them.
Value to the library -- An item that is dated and obsolete, of low priority, or readily available elsewhere may be considered for withdrawal.
  • Availability -- Consideration will be given as to whether an item is the last copy available in the library or in the library system.
  • Well-rounded collection -- Retention is considered for items representing subjects of new or renewed interest and classics or items of historical value significant to the library and to the community. Particularly careful consideration will be given to materials in literature, history and the arts.
  • Condition -- Materials in poor condition are considered for repair, replacement, or withdrawal.
  • A.k.a challenges
  • How to be prepared with your policy
  • APL
    • Challenges regarding specific materials will be reviewed upon written request. A form for this purpose may be requested from any professional librarian.
  • WEY
    • Although materials are carefully selected, there can arise difference of opinion regarding suitable materials. When a patron objects to a particular selection, the objections shall be made in writing and the following procedures will be adhered to in processing the complaint.
  • SEY
    • When a library patron requests that an item be removed from the collection, the librarian will inform the patron of the collection development policy and the criteria for acquisitions. The following points will be made in discussion with the patron:
      • 1. The collection includes a range of opinions.
      • 2. The library supports the ALA Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement.
      • 3. If the patron wishes to make a formal complaint, the librarian will provide a form to be completed (online form PDF file). Only formal and written requests will be considered.
what is important
What is important?
  • Having a policy on hand
    • prompt, courteous handling of complaints
  • Being prepared ahead of time
    • are procedures in place?
      • standard form, staff awareness of procedure?
    • familiarity with local laws that define obscenity (community standards)
    • familiarity with organizations that can help
  • ALA Bill of Rights if endorsed by your library
wrap up
Wrap up!
  • What didn’t we talk about?
      • Presentation available upon request.
  • Alabaster, Carol. Developing an outstanding core collection : a guide for public libraries. Chicago : American Library Association, 2002. (on order)
  • Larson, Jeanette. Model policies for small and medium public libraries. New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers, c1998.
  • Public Library Association. Policy Manual Committee. PLA handbook for writers of public library policies. Chicago : Public Library Association, 1993.