Library collection development is the process of building the library materials to meet the information needs of the users (a service population) in a timely and economical manner using information resources locally held, as well as from other organizations.
According to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), acquisition and collection development focuses on methodological and topical themes pertaining to acquisition of print and other analogue library materials (by purchase, exchange, gift, legal deposit), and the licensing and purchase of electronic information resources.
Collection development policy
The development and implementation of a collection development policy is a best practices for libraries and archives, and addresses issues such as:
- material selection and acquisition
- replacement of worn or lost materials
- removal (weeding) of materials no longer needed in the collection
- planning for new collections or collection areas
- institutional mission
- cooperative decision-making with other libraries or within library consortia
Weeding is an important but difficult aspect of collection development in a library. A librarian may withdraw materials based on the condition, age, relevancy, or lack of space for an item. A professional may decide to replace such items or leave the absence in the collection. The significant act is not without opposition. Historically, both patrons and other librarians criticize weeding books. Some believe libraries should keep all materials in circulation no matter the condition or need for room in the facility for newer material. The controversial nature of collection weeding necessitates the educating of library staff. It provides them with “the tools they need to counter common perceptions or misperceptions regarding weeding”, especially those encountered from faculty in an academic library. Educating the staff with workshops and presentations on collection quality, maintenance and the importance and positive benefits of weeding the collection are important components for a library to consider.
According to the IFLA there are four primary reasons for a written collection development policy: selection, planning, public relations, and the wider context. A written selection guidelines provide staff with the tools to access and evaluate potential additional collection materials as well as basis for denying the acceptance of materials. Beyond the addition of new materials this section can also define the parameters for weeding materials, storage standards, and preservation of unstable collection objects. Secondly, planning aids in making decisions for future improvement in library infrastructure and proper distribution of funds for the institution. Thirdly, in the current environment of limited funding and competition between departments and agencies, a written collection policy aids in the library's public relations. This document can be a tool to help potential donors or funders assess the needs of the library, including assets and services. Lastly, in terms of the wider context, the document can aid in collaboration with other institutions in an effort to fulfill the needs of their patrons and community. Each institution will have a better understanding of the plans for each and how they can assist each other in achieving these goals.
Collection evaluation methods
Selection Vs. Censorship
When acquiring new materials for a library’s collection, it can be difficult to differentiate between selection and censorship. The American Library Association speaks of collections development as selecting materials that are desired by the community as well as fulfilling other educational and recreational criteria. The organization comments that a librarian should not purposely omit the purchase of books or other items due to them being controversial in nature, the author’s religious or political views, or the librarian’s personal beliefs. From the ALA website, they continue the argument by stating that, “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” 
This method of collection evaluation is the practice of checking a library collection against a list of notable books or materials to see if the collection includes these titles. This is the oldest method of collection evaluation, and its first recorded use occurs in 1849 by Charles Coffin Jewett at the Smithsonian Institution.
Citation analysis is the method most used on the college and university level. This method looks at frequently used citations from bibliographies, indexes, and references to see if the resources used are included in the learning institute's partner library. The purpose is to see if the written work produced can be done using only the library located at the college or university. Citation analysis is a good research method to use in academic libraries on the university and college level when performing a collections evaluation. This method is performed by studying bibliographies from many sources such as student papers, faculty research publications, along with theses and dissertations. This information is then used to see what percentage of the items cited in the bibliographies have come from the academic library’s collection. Citation analysis is used to see if the work produced at the university or college has been written using sources mainly from the academic library at that learning institution.
The collections grid is a model to discuss items in a collection in terms of their uniqueness, and the amount of care or stewardship they attract. For example, rare books and local history materials are held in few libraries and attract much care as the jewels of a collection, whereas books and DVDs are held in many libraries and don't attract as much care.
Academic Journals about Collection Development
- Acquisitions Librarian
- Against The Grain
- Collection Management
- Collection and Curation (formerly Collection Building)
- Library Acquisitions: Practice and Theory
- The Serials Librarian
- Evans, G. Edward (2000). Developing Library and Information Center Collections. Libraries Unlimited. pp. 15–16.
- The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.
- Johnson, P. (2013). Is Weeding an Unnatural Act? Technicalities, 33(5), 2-4.
- Harveland, Jennifer (2017). "Library inventory methods: Using flexibility and creativity to achieve a common goal within a federated library system". Collaborative Librarianship. 9 (3): 168–174.
- Guidelines for a Collection Development Policy Using the Conspectus Model
- American Library Association. (2014). Diversity in Collection Development. Retrieved From: http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=interpretations&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=8530
- LaBonte, Kristen (Summer 2005). "Citation Analysis: A Method for Collection Development for a Rapidly Developing Field". sues in Science and Technology Librarianship. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. doi:10.5062/F4TX3CB1. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
- (PDF) https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED564803.pdf. Missing or empty
- Asheim, Lester (1957). The Humanities in the Library: Problems in the Interpretation, Evaluation, and Use of Library Materials. Chicago: American Library Association.
- Albitz, Becky ; Avery, Christine ; Zabel, Diane (2014). "Rethinking Collection Development and Management. Libraries Unlimited.
- Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) (2017). "The Newbery and Caldecott Awards: A Guide to the Medal and Honor Books, 2017 Edition. Amer Library Assn Editions.
- Evans, G. Edward (1987). Developing Library and Information Center Collections. Second ed. In "Library Science Text Series". Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 0-87287-546-6
- Faculty Participation in Collection Development. (February, 2013). Laurence McKinley Gould Library. Retrieved from http://apps.carleton.edu/campus/library/for_faculty/working/collection_development/
- Gregory, V. (2011). Collection Development and Management for 21st Century Library Collections: An Introduction. New York: NY. Neal Schuman Publishers, Inc.
- Hicks, Warren B. and Alma M. Tillin (1970). Developing Multi-Media Libraries. New York: R.R. Bowker Co. SBN 8352-0265-8
- Disher, Wayne (2014). "Crash Course in Collection Development." Libraries Unlimited, 2nd Edition.
- Mardis, Marcia (2016). "The Collection Program in Schools: Concepts and Practices (Library and Information Science Text)". Libraries Unlimited, 6th Edition.
- Monson, Jane (2017). "'Getting Started with Digital Collections: Scaling to Fit Your Organization. American Library Association.
- Hughes-Hassell, Sandra. (2005). "Collection Management for Youth: Responding to the Needs of Learners". Amer Library Assn Editions.
- Johnson, Peggy (2013). " Developing and Managing Electronic Collections: The Essentials. Amer Library Assn Editions.
- Pattee, Amy (2013). "Developing Library Collections for Today's Young Adults. Scarecrow Press.
- Pawuk, Michael (2017). "Graphic Novels: A Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More, 2nd Edition. Libraries Unlimited.
- Ross, Sheri (2016). "Guide to Electronic Resource Management. Libraries Unlimited.
- Santamaria, Daniel (2014). "Extensible Processing for Archives and Special Collections: Reducing Processing Backlogs.ALA Neal-Schuman.
- Scull, Amanda (2017). "Developing Dynamic Intersections between Collection Development and Information Literacy Instruction (Innovations in Information Literacy). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
- Stephens, Claire (2012). "School Library Collection Development: Just the Basics: Just the Basics. Libraries Unlimited.
- Trinkner, Charles L. (1963). Basic Books for Junior College Libraries: 20,000 Vital Titles. Northport, Ala.: Colonial Press.
- Wulfekoetter, Gertrude (1961). Acquisitions Work: Processes Involved in Building Library Collections. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
- Vnuk, Rebecca (2015). "The Weeding Handbook: A Shelf-by-Shelf Guide. Amer Library Assn Editions.
- American Library Association Collection Development
- Intner, S. s. (2016). Forbidden Genres. Technicalities, 36(1), 14-16.
- Mangrum, S., & Pozzebon, M. E. (2012). Use of collection development policies in electronic resource management. Collection Building, 31(3), 108-114.
- Hoffmann, F. W., & Wood, R. J. (2007). Library collection development policies : school libraries and learning resource centers. Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2007.
- Chant, I. (2015). THE ART OF WEEDING. Library Journal, 140(11), 34-37.
- Link, F. l., Tosaka, Y. t., & Weng, C. w. (2015). Mining and Analyzing Circulation and ILL Data for Informed Collection Development. College & Research Libraries, 76(6), 740-755.
- Westervelt, T. (2015). Acquisition and Management of Digital Content at the Library of Congress. Serials Librarian, 68(1-4), 269-273.
|Library resources about |
- Diversity in Collection Development, American Library Association
- IFLA Guidelines for a Collection Development Policy
- Definition of Collection Development, Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science (ODLIS)
- Library Collection Development in an Electronic Age, ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology
- Weeding Library Collections