So I’m starting the third subject in my Teacher Librarianship journey – ETL503 Collection Management. It seems this subject will be more focused on the librarian side of a “teacher librarian” – as the name says, the building a collection and collection management side of being a teacher librarian.
So what is Collection Management?
The NSW Department of School Education’s Handbook for School Libraries (1996) defines it as:
The process of developing and maintaining a range of resources to meet the information needs of the school community and to support teaching and learning in the school. Collection development is a continuing and systematic process, involving collaboration between the teacher librarian and the school community. A library committee (…) can play an important consultative role in the process. The starting point of collection development is a sound analysis of needs …
(Underlining done by me) I can’t find a good example from the BC Ministry of Education but I thought this NSW one said it well – focusing on information needs of its users, support teaching, and collaboration. Juicy buzz words for this subject I think.
Module Activity 1+2: Kennedy’s (2006) definitions of key words in this subject
These are all direct quotes from Kennedy’s glossary
Selection: branch of collection management concerned with deciding which items will be added to a library collection.
Acquisition: in libraries the activity of obtaining, usually but not always by purchase, what has been selected for inclusion in the collection. Commonly the plural form ‘acquisitions’ is employed, notably in phrases such as ‘acquisitions department’, ‘acquisitions librarian’ and ‘acquisitions work’. Acquisition is usually regarded as a branch of collection management, but, particularly in North America, it is seen as distinct from collection management.
Deselection/Weeding: removal from a collection of materials judged no longer to merit a place there. Some writers use it to describe the removal of materials from the library, while others employ it to mean removal from the main collection, but not necessarily from the library’s control.
Collection Evaluation: process of determining the worth of a collection in terms of its ability to satisfy the wants and needs of clients and fulfil the goals of the library.
Collection Development Policy: though some libraries might be said to have implicit collection development policies, the phrase normally refers to a publicly available document which sets out the library’s collection philosophy and goals, describes in some detail the type of materials it holds and collects, and outlines policy on other matters relating to the collection.
Module Activity 3 – Find some definitions of “Collection Management” or “Collection Development”
- Peace Library System (Peace River, AB): http://www.peacelibrarysystem.ab.ca/uploads/documents/0000/3529/What_is_Collection_Management.pdf
Definition: the systematic acquisition and maintenance of a collection of materials which meets the expressed current and potential needs of the people it is intended to serve.
Goal: a collection that is responsive to the needs of the community.
- Yellowhead Regional Library (AB): http://yrl.ab.ca/content/collection-development
Collection development is the process of building or improving a collection of library materials. It is a process whereby each purchase, and each candidate for discard, is carefully evaluated in terms of the needs it meets and its place in the collection. It is an on-going process that changes as the community changes. Collection development is a process involving four elements: Policy, Evaluation, Weeding, Selection
- Vancouver Island Regional Library: http://virl.bc.ca/about-us/library-policies/collection-development
The collection Development Policy is intended to provide guidance, within budgetary and space limitations, for the selection and evaluation of materials which anticipate and meet the needs of the communities of Vancouver Island Regional Library. It directly relates the collection to the library’s mission statement, and defines the scope and standards of various collections.
As the community changes Vancouver Island Regional Library will reassess and adapt its collections to reflect the needs and expectations the communities served. The policy is intended to familiarize the library customer with the philosophy by which selection decisions are made at Vancouver Island Regional Library.
What do they have in common? Needs of its users/the community! I can understand the importance to make a library collection reflect its users and the community it is found in. I’ve had to do that while studying this Masters course in changing/reassessing what I learn to fit into the Canadian context. Although these websites above are all public libraries, I think it relates just as much to school libraries – if kids don’t see what matters to them they aren’t going to be borrowing many books.
This reminds me of a primary school I have subbed at a few times for the librarian – there is a very large percentage of East Indian kids and also quite a few ESL students from other countries. I noticed while shelving how many of the picture books contain East Indian characters, or characters of a decent other than Caucasian. I also noticed a lot of non-fiction books on being different, looking different, and celebrating different cultures. These seemed to go out like hotcakes – the kids wanted to read books about their own culture or about the culture of many of their school friends.
So, in the end, build the collection to fit the context and it will serve its users all the better.
Kennedy, J. (2006). Collection Management: A concise introduction (rev. ed.). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.
NSW Handbook for School Libraries (2nd ed.) (1996). New South Wales Department of School Education, Ryde, NSW: Curriculum Directorate
Peace Library System (Peace River, AB) (2012). Retrieved from http://www.peacelibrarysystem.ab.ca/uploads/documents/0000/3529/What_is_Collection_Management.pdf
Vancouver Island Regional Library (2009). Retrieved from http://virl.bc.ca/about-us/library-policies/collection-development
Yellowhead Regional Library (AB) (2012). Retrieved from http://yrl.ab.ca/content/collection-development