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Making a Collection Count #pla2014

I took a break from the traditional youth sessions this afternoon and took in “Making a Collection Count” from the collections track.  This presentation was put on by two rock star Michigan librarians-Holly Hibner & Mary Kelly.  They are also co-authors of Awfullibrarybooks.net and Making a Collection Count: A Holistic Approach to Library Collection Management.

As a manager and a librarian who participates in collection development, this presentation was extremely interesting for me.  The full slideshow is up on the Awful Library Books web site if you are interested.  My big takeaways from this session were:

  • Document each step of your collection workflow.  Collection development isn’t just buying books.
  • A collection development policy is important.  In addition to containing general selection criteria, it is important that you include resource sharing, maintenance, and weeding.
  • We collect data so we can evaluate our collection through statistics.
  • Physical inventories are necessary.  You don’t need to do the whole collection at once-start with your Fiction “A” section or your most expensive collection.  Make it workable for you (or your volunteers).  You will be able to catch inaccurate call numbers, mislabeled items, and items marked missing.  This shows that you are paying attention to both your customers and your collection.
  • When you have pulled your collection statistics, you can see the collection use, collection age, and collection turnover.
  • Once everything else is in place, develop collection benchmarks.  They don’t need to be set in stone.  Benchmarks can measure circulation over the first 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years and they may all be different.

I am excited to get back to my own collection now!

Lisa Mulvenna
Head of Youth Services
Clinton-Macomb Public Library

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