Collection Development – Your trump card to a library’s success!
Library collection development is the undertaking of building a library’s resources in a specific manner to meet the information needs of its users. It helps address issues such as selection of library material, its acquisition, weeding of material, replacement of lost/worn out material, planning for new resources, etc.
Collection development plays a very crucial role in the success of any library. In fact, developing and implementing a collection development policy is a much-needed document providing the guidelines and framework for a library’s collection, widely considered a best practice across libraries worldwide.
A few guidelines to help you ace this task:
- Know your library users and liaison with your faculty, students, parent community. These members of your school community are the ones who provide crucial input in helping you develop your collection effectively.
- Budget Allocation – Forecast your yearly budget considering inflation. Identifying continuous user needs will determine your library budget and where these funds get allocated.
- Evaluate your resources using statistics – Look closely at your circulation reports to identify usage trends, these will help you to indicate demand as well. Evaluation using circulation statistics helps you to weed while determining the future selection of material. Analyze – Weed – Build, every librarian’s motto!
- Digital Resources/Online Databases – Digital resources and online databases are heavily priced but worth a school’s subscription. Look for the ones that make the best resources across the school curriculum. Avail of free trials on these subscriptions – vendors often willingly offer you a 30-day trial to test their products. Offer these free trial login information to your faculty who will test these for you and help gauge the value of this product to your school community. Databases that offer an excellent backend administration dashboard allow you to report usage statistics to your administration thus qualifying the need to retain an online subscription or withdraw its use.
As a librarian, it is imperative to know the strengths and weaknesses of your library collection, fill in the gaps and meet with the ever-changing needs of your consumers.