Regardless of the size, type, or mission, all libraries follow this lifecycle. Libraries select and acquire, then catalog, process and shelve the item. Eventually books become outdated damaged or irrelevant and then we go back to selection.
All sections of the life cycle are equally important. It can be very easy to get caught up in selection (shopping is fun!) and ignoring the rest of the lifecycle.
In larger libraries, whole other departments may be responsible for the different parts of the lifecycle.
When we understand the entire lifecycle and our place within it, it is easier to manage the collection.
HH Budgeting priorities: -lower holds-to-copies ratio on popular materials to get it in patrons’ hands faster OR well-rounded collection that represents all viewpoints
We want to be relevant to our users and make people have a reason to want to use the library. We also want to provide the community with opportunities to expand their worldview: diversity of thought through the collection
#WeNeedDiverseBooks Everyone wants to see themselves reflected in the books they read. The world around us is diverse…and if your community is not especially diverse, you need to create opportunities to learn about other cultures, religions, lifestyles, etc.
Serendipity is the idea of stumbling upon something ideal. In public libraries, the collection philosophy may include this idea. Giving the public what they didn’t know they wanted, and balancing that with what they have expressly stated, or shown, that they want. These serendipitous items still need to be relevant to the “flavor” of your community, but can be odd, interesting, or come from a different perspective than other items in the collection.
Every time you sort a report in Excel you get a different piece of information about the collection. For example, run a shelf list of one collection. Then sort by call number, number of checkouts, date last circulated, etc. No matter what field you sort by, you still look at the whole data set.
Sort by title: flags duplicates Sort by call number: flags linking errors
Look for any “weirdness.” Example: a hot author like Janet Evanovich or James Patterson with zero circulations.
Don’t be intimidated by the fact that you’re looking at a list of thousands of books. You can scan quickly and see things that look out of place.
MK Image attribute: Public Domain CC0 http://pixabay.com/p-97640/?no_redirect
The Circulation metric is a difficult one to define.
The word “circulation” implies a circle.
Is one circulation the combination of check-out and check-in?
Is one circulation just the check-out? In that case, check-out and check-in is two measurements.
Collection use may include in-library use, not just check-outs. Also, not just how many times the item was used, but who used it and when it was used.
The Sirsi/Dynix Symphony problem: you “check out” an item to damaged, mending, temporarily unavailable, display. Was it actually used by a patron or was it only “checked out” to a status?
MK Many ILS’s will tell you:
-HOW MANY circulations an item has had since the record was created -When the LAST circulation was
Not many (if any!) will tell you WHEN each of those circulations happened and/or WHAT KIND of circulation it was.
A report of every item in a certain collection that circulated LAST year could be very telling, though: -Duplicates where the circulations of each copy are widely disparate. Why did one copy circulate 30 times and the other twice? Was it missing? Damaged? Long overdue?
-Items with very old publication dates that had significant circulations. Do you need more updated items on that subject? Did something important happen related to that item, like a movie release of an old fiction title or a current event about a place/natural disaster/celebrity death/etc.
Group metrics describe the activity of items as a group.
They are used to answer questions like: How are youth nonfiction science titles performing compared to the overall performance of youth nonfiction? How old is the youth science collection (on average)? How does the use of downloadable materials compare to print? What items are more likely to be stolen or damaged?
Average age and median age should be reported carefully.
Only include similar items.
For example, if you include a history collection with very old publication dates in the same age statistic as very current collections, the age of the whole collection is brought down.
This report gives you an idea of how old a group of items skews.
MK A collection making up X% of total volumes make up roughly the same % of total circulation
Ie. If the 500s make up 15% of the total non-fiction collection, the 500s should make up close to 15% of total non-fiction circulation.
If collection size is greater than its % of total circ, weeding is needed.
If collection size is less than its % of total circ, add more titles or allocate more budget to that collection.
The goal is to balance collection size with % of total circulation.
Again, be sure to only include related items in this statistic.
Item metrics describe the activity of a single item in the collection.
They are used to answer questions like: How does its use compare to other titles? How old is it? What is its physical condition? Is there an updated edition available? Is there a better title? What is this book’s competition? Example: Pete the cat Oh David
MK If you know the cost of each item in a collection -and the total circulations of that item -you can calculate cost per use.
Academics: It may be important for you to share “cost per student” numbers with admins. Publics: You can share “cost per patron” numbers. -Include # of students/patrons in the calculation
MK Image: http://web.calstatela.edu/univ/police/images/emergency_clipboard.gif (labeled for reuse)
What does the catalog say you have vs. what do you REALLY have?
Inventory procedure -RFID makes it quick and easy. Otherwise, run a shelf report for one small section at a time.
-Most costly or date-dependent first: medical, legal, computer books
-Open each item: look at their bindings and overall condition
-Look at the record and compare it to what is in your hand.
-Everything spelled correctly? Format is correct?
Use volunteers and pages!
What a policy is: -a guideline to help staff make decisions -a reflection of the community -a reflection of the library’s collection philosophy -a concrete way to help the library meet its mission -a fluid document that allows input from others
What a policy is NOT: -one and done. Update it regularly! -A selection policy and a weeding policy. That is much too short-sighted. -a CYA (cover your ass). Conversations with the public and staff about the library’s collection should be open and transparent. The document is a way to structure that conversation, give context to the library’s processes, and can definitely be revised based on those conversations. Listen and respond! -a procedure. It’s not a workflow. A policy is why you do something. A procedure is how you do something.
Include the library’s mission statement Include the library’s purpose as it relates to the collection Include the purpose of the document
Can include community demographics as they relate to the collection. The need to collect materials in specific languages – Dearborn collects Arabic The need to collect materials in specific subjects – South Lyon is the horse capital of Michigan. The need to collect materials in specific formats – age indicates need for audio, large print.
(Sample next slide)
What kinds of criteria will be used to help the librarians decide what kinds of materials to add to the collection?
What kind of library are you? Academic? Archive? Public? School?
What kind of collection do you have? Popular materials? Research materials? Curriculum materials?
What constraints are there on collection development? Space? Durability? Format? Budget?
What specific criteria will be used when selecting items for the collection? (List next slide)
This section explains the library’s collection philosophy and constraints on their efforts.
(For use in upcoming Adulting 101: Budget Boot Camp class?)
More general criteria
irst Wives Club example
Not librarian needs and wants! Data driven needs and wants. Trend of one
Public libraries: go through collections by audience. Adult, teen, youth.
School libraries: go through collections by either purpose or format.
Academic libraries: go through collections by either department, research focus, or curriculum
HH Include a phrase about print/electronic formats so you don’t have to update the policy every time an electronic format changes.
HH “Video recording” as a phrase is very generic. Doesn’t say bluray, DVD, movie, documentary…
HH State explicitly that the library does not make decisions for children in place of their parents.
School libraries that are in loco parentis could explain that librarians are trained to guide children to appropriate materials based on reviews, bibliographies, online sources, curriculum standards, and their own expertise.
HH Include the in loco parentis statement here too.
Does the library provide interlibrary loan? Are there any other resource sharing programs available through the cooperative? E-book sharing, for example
(Example text next slide)
What efforts will the library take to fix broken items? At what point will they recycle or replace the item instead? Is the library’s mission to preserve information and conserve specific items?
(Sample language next slide)
List the criteria for de-selection Who makes the decision? What will the library do with weeded items? This is not a weeding plan, it is a policy, so it is not as thorough. A weeding plan lists details of a current project, it’s purpose, and process. A policy covers general, ongoing weeding that is a part of the library’s daily workflow.
Other discard options – highlighted in Weed Smart section previously.
What is the holds to copies ratio? The library should commit to a certain level. This helps guide expectations of patrons. It also helps librarians understand the library’s commitment to patron satisfaction. It helps librarians make choices between new titles and more copies of existing titles.
Combined: Making a Collection Count, Weed Smart, Collection Development Policies
Group metrics describe the activity of a
• How does one collection perform
compared to another?
• How old is the collection?
• How do e-books compare to print?
• What items are likely to be damaged?
• Item metrics describe the activity of a
single item in the collection.
• How does its use compare to other titles?
• How old is it?
• What is its physical condition?
• Is there an updated edition available?
• Is there a better title?
- Neglected to get staff on board
- Inadequate planning of disposal
- Careless weeding?
Case #1: San Francisco 1996
- Improper disposal of items
- Poor planning and execution
- Lack of input on new plan by staff and patrons
Case #2: Fairfax County 2013
- Mismanagement, policy not followed
- Too much too fast
- Inadequate preparation
- No public explanation
Case #3: Urbana Free Library 2013
- Too much too fast
- Inadequate staff preparation and participation
- Lack of documentation
Case #4: Berkeley Public Library 2015
• The mission of the library is to connect, enrich,
and improve lives through information, services,
• The library provides public access to general
information and materials that further this
• The purpose of this document is to provide
guidelines for the management of library
materials, including criteria for selection,
evaluation, maintenance, and de-selection.
Adult Collection Examples
• Fiction, including genres such as mystery, science
fiction, fantasy, short stories, graphic novels,
westerns, and general fiction. These may include
print and/or electronic formats.
• Audio books, which provide access to spoken
recordings of print material. This may include
works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama,
foreign language instruction, and self-
improvement or instructional material. Audio
books may be made available in a variety of
Adult Collection Examples
• Video recordings for the primary purpose of
home entertainment, information, and
• Music recordings in a variety of genres and
formats, to allow patrons to experience the art of
music in its diversity.
• Games for a variety of electronic platforms to
meet the recreational and educational needs of
• The juvenile collection has been developed to
connect, enrich, and improve lives of the library’s
young patrons: infants through approximately
• The library does not stand in loco parentis,
leaving the final responsibility for guiding a
minor’s selections to the parent or guardian.
• Selections for the juvenile collection provide a
variety of materials to meet the needs and
appeal to the wide range of interests and
reading abilities common to this age group.
Youth Collection Examples
• Picture Books (including board books) geared
for young children, often emphasizing
concepts such as holidays, animals, seasons,
alphabet, and counting through a combination
of pictures and text or
through pictures alone.
• These materials may also
be made available
Youth Collection Examples
• Easy Readers, which encompass series and
titles for children roughly in grades PreK–2,
and which follow various reading level
programs and formulas. These materials may
also be made available electronically.
• Media Kits that aid in reading instruction by
pairing a book with its audio equivalent.
Purchases for the teen collection
are primarily made to fill a
transitional need between the
juvenile and adult collections, and
are therefore limited in nature.
Teens may find additional materials
of interest in both the juvenile and
adult collection areas.
Cooperatives and Resource Sharing
• The library participates in regional and state
cooperative programs to provide access to
information and materials for its patrons.
• Interlibrary loan service is provided within the
• This supplements and greatly
expands local collections
and removes geographic
Preservation, Conservation, and Maintenance
• The library will make all attempts possible to
maintain a healthful environment for housing the
• In the event of a disaster, such as flooding, fire,
smoke damage, etc., conservation and
preservation will be attempted.
• The library will attempt to repair damaged library
materials whenever the item’s value warrants
such an investment of time and resources.
The librarians will generally de-select library
materials under the following circumstances:
• Materials in poor condition
• Obsolete formats
• Space considerations
• Unnecessary duplication
• Poorly used and under-circulated materials
• Obsolete, inaccurate, or superseded information
• Data reported through the library’s automation
system will be analyzed to help librarians evaluate
• The Director and his/her designees will make the
final judgment of materials to be withdrawn
from the collection.
• De-selected materials may become part of the
Friends of the Library Book Sale, sent to online
consignment-oriented resale systems such as
Better World Books, or recycled where
• The library will attempt to keep an approximate
ratio of 4:1 on copies to holds, so librarians may
purchase extra copies of items in high demand.
• This ratio is dependent on factors such as the
availability and affordability of both the items
and the resources necessary for processing them.
• Once they have fulfilled holds and dropped off in
popularity, extra copies may be de-selected