Collection management and culling

Modeule 5.1

Collection evaluation

In the readings it seems like the TL is spending a lot of time thinking about the consistency of the collection. Bishop (Bishop, 2007a) involves finding out about the community, the school and other libraries in the area. It aims to find what their anticipated needs are. It recommends conducting surveys on teachers and students in the community. I feel that this would be mostly not too well received. Teachers and students are tired of surveys and parent and community groups are lax to return and hand them in. A TL already has a limited timeframe to conduct these sort of activities. Time might be better spent elsewhere. Perhaps rather than surveying, the TL might be best to quietly observe needs and note where they feel the collection is strong and weak. They can consult with teachers one-on-one if a particular group is coming to the library to study a particular subject. They may listen to what the students are saying and have informal conversations with students about what they like and do not like.

To review a collection and to weed you have to be slightly ruthless. The quantitative method suggested by Hughes-Hassell and Mancall (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005) seemed quite valid to me. Consider:
* the number of items in a particular section;
* the age of the collection
* the circulation patterns
* the condition of the collection.

It is unfornate that we cannot keep all books forever. They do age and are replaced by more up-to-date information. Time is better spent with a good system in place and a systematic approach to collection development and culling


Bishop, K. (2007) Community analysis and needs assessment. In The collection program in schools: Concepts, practices and information sources (4th Ed.) (p.19-24). Westport Conn.: Libraries Unlimited

Hughes-Hassell, S. & Mancall, J. (2005) Strengths and weaknesses of the current collection. In Collection management for youth: Responding to the needs of learner a, ALA: e-book, pp. 40-43.

Shellee Young

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