Sunday, April 8, 2018

Practice Makes Perfect: While Collection Development Remains as Much Art as Science, Adopting Best Practices Can Help Selectors Choose What's Right for their Communities

Vigil, Sharon

Mickelsen, A. (2016). Practice makes perfect: While collection development remains as much art as science, adopting best practices can help selectors choose what’s right for their communities. Library Journal, 141(14), 34-37. Retrieved from


This article discusses best practices for selecting and maintaining print and electronic materials. It touches on selection decisions, budgets and formats, collection analysis tools, donations and self-publishing, and weeding and maintenance. Common challenges that are mentioned include stretching budgets to cover multiple formats and deciding how many copies of a popular item to buy without sacrificing diversity in the collection.


This article provides some very helpful tips in managing a collection. Librarians must not only be knowledgeable about a particular field or subject area but must also have an understanding of what patrons want while being mindful of the available budget. A few tips to help librarians track books that are newly released, or are about to be released, include signing up for publisher newsletters and the LibraryReads recommendation tool, registering with Edelweiss to access publisher catalogs, and keeping track of authors featured at NPR Books. One librarian that was interviewed emphasized the importance of making sure there is some method in place for accepting requests from patrons in order to know what is missing from the library’s collection. Another librarian suggested getting out of the library and interacting with patrons. In regards to budgets and formats, one recommendation was to allocate more funding to popular subscription services such as Hoopla and OverDrive and, in choosing which streaming services to use, librarians should consider patrons’ ability to access the Internet and technology that is required. This article provides some great advice for collection development librarians or anyone who participates in the collection development process.

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