Monday, April 11, 2011


Selection is the process of looking at books for the library collection.

Criteria for selection
  • For buying, is it suitable for the library?
    o Content
    o Physical format
    * Libraries want quality binding. In 2004 we asked ourselves how much longer would VHS be collected for? Do you want print or electronic formats?
  • Purpose, Scope and Audience
  • o Look at reviews and publishers. Does the purpose match the clientele? Does it indicate the reading level? Is that a reading level suitable for the clientele?
  • Difficulty
    o Reading level
  • Authority, Honesty and Credibility of the author
    o Is the author well known? Are they an expert in their field? Are the reviews good?
  • Subject matter
    o Do a lot of people cite that author’s work? Does articles appear in periodicals? A re they quality researched books?
  • Comparison
    o Look at reviews of books the library already has on the subject. Does this book add anything to the field?
  • Timeliness
    o Big publications sell most of their copies within the first five years. Non-fiction publications are only valid within two years of publication for good information.
  • Accuracy
  • Impartiality
  • Literary merit
  • Arrangement and organization
  • Curriculum support
  • Demand
  • Local content

Physical format
  • Format
    o Does the format suit the purpose of the book, and for the user? E.g. language, on audio/video, and for seniors large type books and on tape/CD.
  • Binding
    o Patrons prefer paperbacks, so laminate the covers for protections. Those with ‘nice’ covers (perhaps illustrative, bright), are more popular than those with ‘boring’ covers. Try to avoid books with spiral/teeth binding, as these materials need to be repaired sooner rather than later, and often. 
  • Appearance
    o Hardcovers can look boring without their dust jackets, losing appeal.
  • Illustrations
    o Illustrations are important in both non-fiction and fiction books. Colour is more appealing, as are photographs over pictures. Are they appropriate?
  • Size
  • Price
  • Series
Selection aids
Resources that allow informed decisions
  • Current sources for in-print books
  • Catalogues, flyers, announcements
    o from publishers
  • Best books, recommended lists and core collections
  • Current review sources
    o Libraries rely on these aids heavily, check online regularly
  • Subject bibliographies
    o Specialities
  • National bibliographies
    o e.g. Canadiana, access over Amicus to access bibliographies worldwide
Current sources for in-print books
  • Books in Printo Forthcoming Books in Printo Paperback Books in Print* 8 printed volumes contain titles and authors. 5 volumes contain subject
    * volumes available in print, on CD or by Internet, all with or without reviews
    * Only relevant to U.S. titles
  • Canadian Books in Printo Huge 2 volume contain author, title and subject
  • Whitaker’s Books in Print (UK)
    o Available online
  • Cumulative Book Index (Wilson)
    o Reference only
Types of current review sources
  • Reviews for trade, professional booksellers and librarians
    o Promotional
    In Publishers Weekly. These are informative reviews wanting to sell the book, not evaluative, so won’t tell the whole truth
    o Evaluative
    * Will tell the truth about books, not always recommending them, similar to critical (slamming books, but wouldn’t say it’s not recommended)
  • Reviews for subject specialists (professional journal reviews)
    o ALA produces Booklist (public), Choice (academic)
    o School Library Journal (K-12)
    o Library Journal (Adults)
    * Some libraries use all three titles, especially large academic and public libraries. Lots of libraries will subscribe to at least the suitable publication.
  • Reviews for general public
    o In newspaper stands, yet deemed highly influence
  • Promotional review sources
    o Publisher’s Weekly
    * not always promotional, wants to help publisher sell
    o Kirkus Reviews
Evaluative review sources
  • Booklist
  • Books in Canadao reviews Canadian books
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Bookso from Illinois library school graduates; highly respected
  • Choiceo academic break down by subject
    o highly critical
    o can base selection on reviews – if review is bad, the book is likely to be
  • CM Canadian Materialso
    o material has to be published in Canada before it is reviewed
    o highly respected
  • Horn Book
  • Library Journalo school libraries
  • School Library Journalo school libraries
Limitation of reviews
  • Most books are only reviewed once, if at all
    o take a closer look before buying
  • Time lag
    o some reviews aren’t written/published
    o some reviews aren’t available until after demand dies
  • Some sources only publish favorable reviews
  • Competence of Reviewers
Review sources for the general public
Major magazines and newspapers contain book reviews. These include Canada’s National Post.
  • Macleans
  • Newsweek
  • Time
  • Globe & Mail
  • New York Times Book Reviewo Weekly section reviewing high quality
  • Radio and TV shows
    o e.g. Oprah Winfrey
  • Times Literary Supplemento British version of New York Times Book Review
Finding out where a book has been reviewed
Often subscribe and look at websites monthly. Sources will help recommended reviews.
  • Book Review Digesto published monthly
    o includes review excerpts
    o non-fiction must be reviewed twice, fiction three, at least once in Canada
  • Book Review Indexo monthly reviews
    o citations only
  • Canadian Periodical Index
  • Canadian Book Review Annualo print
    o lists where books have been reviewed
  • CBCAo periodical/journal/book reviews
    o includes major Canadian books
  • EBSCOhost (and many others)
Some good internet sites
Online bookstores will also link to excellent review sources.

Best books, recommended lists etc.
  • Wilson catalogs
    o part of H.W. Wilson, their books are called ‘catalogs’
    o provides list of basic titles all libraries should have
    o They recommend American Best of Best
    o Libraries can use as a checklist
    o Hard volume published every 5 years
    o supplements also available
    o highly respected
    o provides cataloguing information
    * Children’s catalog
    * Fiction catalog
    * Public Library catalog
    * Middle and Junior High School Library catalog
    * Senior High School catalog
  • Brodart’s Elementary School Collection
    o pre-school to grade 6 titles
    o Dewey Decimal
  • Brandon-Hill lists
    o medical field
    o highly respected
    o several lists
    * medical
    * nursing
    * health sciences
Subject and national bibliographies
  • Bibliographie de France
  • British National Bibliography
  • Canadianao Canada
  • Deutsch Bibliolgraphieo German
  • Requires government documentations from the bibliographies
Publisher’s flyers, etc.
  • Catalogues
    o also available online
    o easier to circulate
    o lists tables of contents
  • Flyers
    o pre-publication flyers, sees how much interest is available before mass producing
    o e-mails new offers
    o lists tables of contents
  • Brochures
  • Web sites

No comments: