Tuesday, November 1, 2016

How to Build a High-Quality Library Collection in a Multi-Format Environment

Chase, Matthew
Fall 2016


Barstow, S., Macaulay, D., & Tharp, S. (2016). How to build a high-quality library collection in a multi-format environment: Centralized selection at University of Wyoming Libraries. Journal of Library Administration, 56, 790-809.


This article brings up the growing trend toward the development of electronically formatted collections in academic libraries, which presents a host of new problems and insights for librarians. This trend has added further pressure on librarians charged with collection development as they navigate the increasing needs for library instruction and research help. The authors use the collection reconstruction prompted at the University of Wyoming Libraries to provide a visual demonstration of the impact had from the current direction of collection development and management. They conclude that as these collections continue to diversify in format, there is an increasing need and advantage to centralize the responsibilities to a select team of librarians with expertise on emerging trends in development.


This article paints a transformative portrayal of the future collection development librarian, which is quickly becoming the present as evidenced by the University of Wyoming Libraries. There is definite promise in the centralized model presented by the authors, as keeping the responsibilities delegated to a small team of experts allowed for more efficiency in assessment and selection. However, the authors do admit to existing issues such as budgets. Although budgetary considerations were not much of a concern in their case study, they acknowledged that such limitations would slow down the process even with the new model, which isn't suprising to find. It would be curious to see such a model applied to a public or school library where budgetary limitations are a constant worry and obstacle.

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