ETL503 Mod 2 – Selection Aids

Selection Aids should be used by TLs to help them select the most appropriate and up-to-date resources for their collection. Following is some of these selection aids and what I think are their strengths and weaknesses:

Bibliographies – Strengths: One-stop-shop for info, “Bibliographies can be seen to have the advantage of clearly indicating specific resources which have been identified as having clear relevance, value, popularity, etc. relating to the topic being treated” (Crotty, 2012).

Bibliographies – Weaknesses: “A major disadvantage of such lists is that they are dating from the moment they are created and may consequently contain resources that are outdated or no longer available and may not contain more current and pertinent resources” (Crotty, 2012), questionability of the authority of the bibliography’s author, perhaps developed for a different, irrelevant context

Booksellers/Visits to Bookshops (Advertisements) – Strengths: Immediate access to the resources for reviewing in-hand, immediate access to purchased items

Booksellers/Visits to Bookshops (Advertisements) – Weaknesses: Bias, emphasis on promoting stock they hold or need to move, limited to publishers they subscribe to

Reviewing journals/websites – Strengths: Authoritative, “mostly are developed by educational authorities or professional organisations with the specific goal of providing considered, pertinent evaluations of relevant resources” (Crotty, 2012), clear context, print + website versions, large variety

Reviewing journals/websites – Weaknesses: Must subscribe to the journal to have access to reviews, possibility for bias

Input from staff and users – Strengths: Online forums and listservs contain a wealth of knowledge, clear indication of what is wanted/needed in the local library community

Input from staff and users – Weaknesses: Recommender’s knowledge of the resource could be questionable/bias/come from a bias review or advertisement, staff/user might not know what is already available in the library

Here are some BC/Canadian examples:

I think a selection aid should meet 1. authority, 2. local/provincial relevance and context, and 3. peer/colleague approved or tested to be considered a good, trustworthy aid.

How about for my local school district? I asked some TLs working in my school district what they use as selection aids: CM Magazine, Quill and Quire, Kirkus Reviews, ALA, Horn Books, Canadain Children’s Book Centre (, Red Cedar Book Awards, Silver Birch Readers Awards, Adrianne Gear, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), Booklist, CanLit, and of course local recommended reading lists



Crotty, R. (2012). Selecting resources to support teaching and learning: Selection aids [ETL503 Module 2.5]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website:


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