Collection Development

Collection Wisdom

book cartOne month ago, I became the Head of Youth Services at a library in Western Pennsylvania and I’ve been thinking about budgets and physical space and the giant puzzle that is building a great youth services collection.  I tend to believe a smaller newer collection is more appealing.  Yep, fewer and newer books, even if that means we only have a few Goosebumps left on the shelf.  So I’ve been doing some weeding.  I think we all need a friendly reminder that it’s OK to cut your collection.  Go ahead!  Remove books that are in bad condition or outdated and don’t replace them. I know that Curious George and Madeline may still circulate; but I also know I have limited space (don’t we all!)

My library is fortunate to be part of a larger library consortium so our collection is technically 45 libraries-strong which means I could focus on what my community needs when they walk into my location.  Now that many (most?) of our patrons order their library books online so they can run in and pick them up quickly, what can I offer my area families when they walk through our doors to browse?  Maybe a juvenile bestsellers collection?   Maybe a toy-lending program?  Someone once said to me years ago, the library’s Achilles heel is its futile aim to be everything to everyone all the time.  I’m interested in what it would look like to get specific.  What if I tried to support a collection policy that relied on my specific community’s desires?  What would that look like?  Would that even be a good idea?

I’d love to hear your thoughts; how do you approach collection development at your library?

(Photos courtesy of guest blogger)

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fall.jpgOur guest blogger today is Kelley Beeson. Kelley is the Youth Services Department Head at the Western Allegheny Community Library. She’s been working in libraries since high school and her favorite book is Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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