1. Decide who you are serving. Different communities need different materials.
2. What is necessary? Why is it necessary? Why does it pertain to the library? How do you decide what to buy? How do you decide what not to buy? What is important? Can better decisions be made?
3. What is the process of selection? Look at different tools.
4. There are many different places to acquire materials from.
5. Is it time to remove books because they are now inappropriate? Note that the library’s audience may have changed since the original purchase.
6. Go through the collection, how good is it? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the library?
Note the cycle repeats.Collection development cycle
The collection development cycle is a life cycle, repeating itself. Decide what to buy when selecting materials. Make them accessible after cataloguing and classifying. Maintain the collection, throw away items when they’re no longer usable. Again, the cycle repeats.
What is collection development?
The process of making certain the information needs of the clients using the collection are met in a timely and economic manner using information resources both inside and outside of the organization.Evans, G. Edward. Developing Library and Information Center Collections. 3rd ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1995. 77.
Collection development is information resources, not just the books in the library. It’s also not restricted to physical materials – the only requirement is that the material must fit the collection policy. Materials can be used inside and outside of the library.
- Seat-of-the pants method
Don’t think about what is being brought, especially when there’s limitations for users and the collections
- Voilà method
Donations need to be in good condition, and to not just be books either. Plan an approach regarding how to acquire material
- The process of learning more about a target collection
(Evans, G. Edward. Developing Library and Information Center Collections. 3rd ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1995. 32.)
- Community includes users and non-users.
- Should the library attract new users?
- The analysis identifies the users
- The analysis identifies the potential users
- The analysis identifies their needs
Collection development policies
- Provide staff with guidelines for choosing items for inclusion in the collection
o The primary reason for policy. It’s not a competition to have better materials than other vendors, e.g. videos/DVDs against a video rental store.
- Include related issues such as gifts, weeding and cooperation
o Do you cooperate with other libraries?
- Selection policies
o provide information useful in deciding which items to purchase
o Do you select non-print, print, hardback, paperback? Which subjects do you cover?
- Process of deciding which materials to acquire for a library within a specified budget
- May involve
o deciding among items on the same subject
o deciding whether an item can stand up to the use it will receive
* Do you permabound a popular fiction book?
o deciding whether item is worth its price
* Are you prepared to buy something out of policy?
Categories of appropriate materials
Does the item fit into one of the categories below?
o Dictionaries and encyclopedias are essential. They are items the library should have.
o Items that are important should be in the library if money is available to purchase them.
o Needed items can be brought if they are within a budget.
o These are items that do not add much to collection.
o It is hard to justify having a ‘nice’ book in the collection.
- A luxury
o These are out of sight and unnecessary.
Acquisitions work is the process of securing materials for the library’s collection, whether by purchase, as gifts, or through exchange programs.
Evans, G. Edward. Developing Library and Information Center Collections. 3rd ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1995. 19.
Acquisitions are not generally brought materials.
Weeding, or deselection, is the activity of examining items in the library and determining their current value to that library’s collection (and to the service community).
Evans, G. Edward. Developing Library and Information Center Collections. 3rd ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1995. 20.
Books may no longer be relevant to the current library and be better somewhere else.
- What are the strengths of the collection?
- How effectively have we spent our collection development monies?
- How useful are the collections to the service community?
- How do our collections compare to those of our peers?
- Evaluation completes the collection development cycle and brings one back to needs assessment activities.
Evans, G. Edward. Developing Library and Information Center Collections. 3rd ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1995. 401.
Money is only spent wisely if the collection is regularly used. Compare the city of Winnipeg to the city of Edmonton, not the city of Toronto. They have similar people, size and community surroundings.