Monday, October 20, 2008

025.2 Library Collection Development Thoughts

Get an opportunity to share my 30+ years of education experience with a group of library students this week so I decided that I would put my collected, random (or randomly collected) thoughts on the matter here.

So if you see a nugget you can use...have at it!

Three things to remember when looking at developing any collection:
1. Curriculum--school libraries do have a limited focus (unlike public libraries, we do have parameters!)

2. Collection--know what you have BEFORE making any major decisions. A new Librarian should not weed! You should find out what teacher depends on that worn out copy of that American history title because of the map on p. 69.

3. Community--know who you serve! If you don't, you are asking for trouble.

Since all of my campus library experience has been at the secondary level, I have been directed to talk for the level...good thing!

When looking at a secondary collection that has any age to it, there are several things to watch for:
1. In high school, the 800s are going to be old...critical reviews are critical reviews. And librarians are hard-pressed to get rid of any sources that have all those valuable reviews for all the classics that continue to be studied as part of the high school curriculum.
2. Many typical reference books are now available online. That is a decision that has to be made. Print or Online. I vote online!
3. Be aware of issues in fiction. There are going to be controversial issues; there are going to be language issues; they will make you squirm a bit. Remember--what is in the kids' best interest.
4. Find things for ALL your readers...graphic novels, nonfiction, easy.

Budgets...ugly word that it is, we all have to deal with it. Be sure you are using it for the kids #1, and then for anything that helps you help the kids #2. Watch for budget pitfalls. Are you having to spend library funds on things that really should be funded out of other campus funds? If so, then use your diplomatic skills and point this out. Be willing to do the for the source, fill out the requisitions, but let someone else pay the bill!

Do you have a set 0f tools you use in making selections?
1.The review journals..either in paper or online. And all of us could come up with reasons for having one format or the other! see very much, you have to subscribe...even online!
School Library Journal
Booklist (awards list on the blogroll)
Horn Book
I know you can think of others!

2. Vendor resources
Follett's Titlewave
Mackin Collection analysis

and bunches more!

3. Online Bookstore resources
(Caution: For your school library...don't order from these types of sources unless circumstances are such that you must! Let the traditional vendors work for you!)
Barnes & Noble
Alibris (may be blocked...rare, out-of-print, hard to find titles)

4. Develop a relationship with a "shop around the corner" as well.
Need a way to learn your community...what better place! Need a quick source for something special or in an emergency?

Want to find out about books? Want to know what is hot off the press? Read blogs!
(look on the right side of this blog for a longggggg list of book review blogs!)
Better yet...get yourself a blog reader and set up it up to let you know when your favorite reviewers post something!

Good cataloging helps with collection development. Good solid rules and reasons for what you do in your catalog will prevent confusion...and duplication. Especially important in a union catalog. In your library manual, be it campus or district-wide, have careful specs for your vendors and librarians to follow. Helps keep your collection tight, avoids confusion, and saves money!

Ok, readers! Anything else? Any points brought out by the class...I will add!


paul c said...

As an English teacher of 30+ years my room is close to the library. English teachers and libraries are like video gamers and a 60 inch HD TV. Libraries feed our passions.

I appreciate a library with great displays; they invite participation. Too bad the digital age has devalued somewhat the hard copies of books and information.

I appreciate your point about
"find things for ALL your readers...graphic novels, nonfiction, easy..." Quality supplementary reading is the last frontier of hard copies in the library. Maybe digital Readers will eventually take their place as well.

Then all that's left is a friendly 'librarian' who is really a desk top captain of navigators.

BookMoot said...

What a great post! Newbies and Oldsters can benefit from this advice! I second your "A new Librarian should not weed!" Take some time and learn your collection and get to know your faculty.