Collection Management Policy

A collection management policy according to Kennedy (2006, p. 12) ‘is a written statement of the policies intended to govern the activities of a library in regards to its collections.’

Why have with such a policy?

  1. The policy is a planning tool to assist the library in its collection-related activities.
  2. It is a way of communicating the library’s collection management intentions to those who wish to know about them (p.12).

Kennedy’s primary reason for retaining the use of the term ‘collection development’ as opposed to ‘collection management’ stems from 2 main reasons: Firstly, the emphasis on selection being one of the key activities of the library which results in growth, hence use of the term ‘development’ of the collection. Secondly, from the many publications, even recent ones, that still use the term ‘collection development’ rather pervasively. Given the high possibility of many libraries facing issues of  funding to develop their collection and the current digital information environment resulting in many readily available information at low or no cost via the Internet, the term ‘collection management’ may be more suitable for the 21st century context.


Topic 7: Collection Evaluation

In planning and conducting a collection evaluation exercise, Kennedy (2006, pp. 93-102) outlined 6 key steps to take in order to effectively assess/evaluate a library’s collection. The 6 steps are:

  1. what is the purpose and objectives
  2. Review previous research
  3. select data to be collected and methodology (collection-centred vs client-centred methods)
  4. select population sample (involve use of statistical techniques to ascertain sample-no of items in the collection or no of users)
  5. Collect and analyse data
  6. Facilitate replication-procedures to be documented so that it can facilitate future replication.


    1. List-checking
    2. Analysing citations
    3. Applying collection standards
    4. Seeking expert opinion


    1. Studying circulation
    2. Studying ‘in-house’ use
    3. Studying availability and accessibility
    4. Surveying users regarding their experience of the collection
is a popular evaluation method which provides a visual representation of the strengths and weaknesses of the library collection. Mapping could either be done for the entire collection or a specific section tied to the curriculum. For a particular section of the collection, the maps are known as emphasis maps or mini-maps (Bishop, 2007).

Evaluating Digital Collection
Relatively little has been written on this topic of how digital collection is serving the needs of users.

Activity Question
Given the time, priorities and staffing constraints in most school libraries, instead of choosing the most appropriate which is usually more extensive and laborious collection evaluation method, i am more inclined to select a simply, hybrid method with limited but useful outcomes. For my middle school library, the main focus of collection evaluation would to to ascertain how well the collection meets the needs of my students and if it meets the teaching-learning context (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005, p.40). To achieve the objective, i would consider using a combination of subjective(qualitative) Client-Centred method and Collection Mapping (of new but key programmes).

Client-centred Method strategies:
1) User-Opinion Surveys- through both questionnaires and interviews. List of suggested questions by Hughes-Hassell and Mancall  (2005, p.40) are most apt. Examples:

  •  How well do the items support the learning styles of my gifted learners (visual, auditory, bodily-kinesthetic?)
  • How well do the items support the reading levels of my students?
  • How well do the items reflect the ethnic diversity of my community?

2) Circulation Studies as well as ‘In-House’ Use Studies (Bishop, 2007) could be undertaken with reports churned out from the library automation software.

3) If time permits, a collection mapping of a specific area based on new curriculum and enrichment programmes could be undertaken to ensure adequate resources to support the learners and curriculum

Useful websites for weeding (deselection)

There are many recommended useful websites for the task of weeding but the site i find to be of greatest assistance and relevance is ‘The School Library Media Specialist’ website by Lamb, Annette and Johnson, Larry 2005.

Reasons being:

  1. Comprehensive with many topical and useful links for further exploration eg links to CREW Method as well as pertinent powerpoint slides.
  2. User-friendly, interesting use of visuals and inclusion of book jacket of examples of books that shd be deselected.
  3. Simple language makes interesting and light reading.

Another useful website for the topic of weeding(deselection) is ‘Secret library busines-part 2 by Renate Beilharz that appeared in Connections SCIS, Issue 63, Term 4 (2007).  The article is a good summary of key points raised by the books listed below:

Baumbach, Donna J and Linda L Miller 2006, Less is More: A practical guide to weeding school library collections, American Library Association, Chicago.

Johnson, Doug 2003, Weed! [Accessed 15 August 2007]

Kennedy, John 2006, Collection Management: A concise introduction, Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW.

Lamb, Annette and Johnson, Larry 2005, Collection Maintenance and Weeding [Accessed 15 August 2007]

Personally, i do not think the use of the term ‘weeding’ denigrates the task. In fact, it clearly explains simply and in ordinary layman term the task of removing unwanted items in the library (‘garden’). The distinction being the case of the library being controllable while that of the garden concept is one which is beyond the control of the gardener/owner. There will be lesser need to weed or deselect, if the library resources had been more accurately developed based on the information and curricular needs of the school. Hence, the term ‘deselect’ is one which i feel i a more professional and appropriate use as it is the direct reverse of ‘selection’ process. If there is no selection then there wld not be any ‘deselection’!

Deselection is just as important a process as selection as a good and well resourced library must be one that contains accurate, relevant and current resources that meets the curriculum and recreational needs of the students and the teaching faculty of the school.

For a school library collection, the order of deselection criteria is listed below. As an advocate of Hughes-Hassell and Mancall (2005, p.33) selection criteria, i wld put ‘NO LONGER MEETING NEEDS OF CURRICULUM’ as top criteria over and above appearance or space constraints.

Order of deselection criteria:

  1. No longer meeting the information and curriculum needs of the school
  2. Age
  3. Physical Condition-Aesthetics
  4. Freeing up space
  5. Currency of content
  6. Duplication
  7. Bias
  8. Obsolete Formats

Reasons for weeding(deselection)

Kennedy(2006) listed the broad reasons for weeding in the following order:

  1. Freeing up space
  2. Improving appearances
  3. Removing obsolete materials
  4. Removing little-used materials
  5. Saving staff time

Baumbach and Miller (2006) listed the objective and subjective weeding criteria in the following order:

  1. Age
  2. Use
  3. Physical Condition
  4. Currency of content
  5. Duplication
  6. Curricular Integration
  7. Appropriatenes to the collection
  8. Bias
  9. Obsolete Formats

Freeman (1991, pp. 55-57) as cited by Dillon( 2001 p. 248) listed the following broad criteria for weeding (includes elements of CREW and MUSTY):

  1. Physical condition
  2. Content
  3. Usage
  4. Other

I do agree with the notion that weeding(deselection) is just as important an activity for a strong collection management as the task of selection. For all reasons cited by Kennedy (2006), Dillon (2001), Baumbach and Miller (2006), i do find myself guilty of not giving weeding sufficient attention. As, I am also in support of Hughes-Hassell and Mancall (2005, p.33) selection criteria which are based primarily on meeting the needs and requirement of the curriculum & learning community, I do feel that the order of weeding criteria listed by authors above did not give emphasis to the aspect of the resources  ‘NO LONGER MEETING NEEDS OF CURRICULUM’ especially in the context of a school library. Unlike a public library which may based their selection criteria on ‘just-in-case’ they are needed policy, school libraries with limited budget and manpower, should base their collection development on meeting the curriculum and information needs of the users. Hence, deselection should also focus on resources that are no longer meeting the information needs of users and curriculum.

What is copyright?

What is copyright?

  • Copyright (CR) is a set of rights given to owners of creative works such text, artistic works, music, computer programmes, sound recordings and films –to reproduce the materials or perform the work to public.
  • CR owners can prevent others from reproducing or communicating their work without their permission
  • CR owners can sell these rights
  • CR is separate right to property right in an object
  • CR in Aust (Singapore too) does not need to be registered.
  • A work will be protected as soon as it is produced in material form or recorded or filmed.

For more info. go to Smartcopying

What about creative work such as Youtube videos and music videos?

Interesting to note that there are 2 Educational Licences for Australian schools and TAFE tt govern the copying and communication of CR works:

1) Part VB for Text and Artistic Works Licence (administered by CAL)
In 2007, schools & TAFE paide $50 Million in licence fees to CAL!!
Allows a school or TAFE to photocopy/electronic copy and communicate

  • Up to 10% of work
  • one article from a journal
  • the whole work tt has not been separately published
  • commercially available within a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price.

2) Part VA for Broadcast Licence (administered by Screenrights).
In 2007, schools & TAFE paid >$16million in licence fees to Screenrights

  • allows electronic copying & comm of off-air radio and television broadcasts for educational purposes, including:
  • putting a digital copy of a prog on to a network
  • emailing a digital copy to students
  • copying and communicating  a free-to-air broadcast via webcast or podcast

RSA Animate on what motivates us to perform-Daniel Pink

While researching on Daniel H Pink’s ‘A Whole New Mind-The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’, i discovered the above Youtube RSA Animate video that interestingly captured the 3 key factors that lead to better performance at home and at work.
1) Autonomy- the desire to be self-directed
2) Mastery-The urge to get better at doing things. Innate challenge mastery and make a contribute for betterment of all even with no monetary rewards
3) Purpose-larger transcendent & moral purpose is a critical motivating factor to drive performance.

Work that involves mechanical task will achieve higher performance with carrot and monetary incentives but it is interesting to note that many people are not motivated by monetary rewards especially those involved with task that uses the cognitive skills.

Resource Selection

Selection of resources (print, non-print or digital) in the school library context should be made with careful consideration. Items shd be age appropriate, relevant and appropriate to curriculum at various levels and meet the competencies of students.

Who then is responsible for selection?
Kennedy (2006) seems  to favour the professional librarian with possible input from stakeholders but with the final selection and acquisition decision-making by the professional librarian. In the school library, i am working in, the selection of resources is closely considered with the help of the academic subject HoDs. Based on budget availability and the collection development policy, decisions are made jointly. I am more inclined to adopting a collaborative approach where the responsibility for selection is shared with other HoDs with expert knowledge of their respective curriculum and resource requirements. By involving the academic staff, there will be greater ownership towards the library collection development and this will hopefully translate to greater use and promotion to the students.

Strategies i would adopt to implement collaborative approach are:
1) circulate book catalogues, reviews, bibliographies to teachers
2) attend academic subject meetings to familiarise with the curriculum needs & support from the library,
3) form a library advisory committee to recommend & select books–voluntary basis.
4) create a blog to engage and obtain input on collection devt from the various stakeholders-trs, parents, students
5) conduct surveys to gauge students’ interest (esp reading interest).

What to select?
In the school context, it would definitely be resources that meets the requirements and needs of the curriculum, teaching and learning programmes, interest and recreational reading of students and teachers.

Teacher librarian as leader

Much has been written about the multi-faceted roles of a teacher librarian-ranging from an instructional partner, information specialist, information literacy teacher, curriculum leader, website developer, library manager, reading advocate and many other administrative roles. Of the many roles, the TL as a leader is one key role which will determine the success of the library in providing resources, information services and in supporting teaching and learning.

The article by Donham(2005) is very informative and pertinent to topic of TL leadership role. I learnt many new leadership concepts and terms in describing the leadership attributes such as strong leaders act from an ‘internal locus of control’ and take responsibility to make things happen.

The statement by Donham (2005, p. 297), “Leaders are can-do people who look to themselves to make programs great and inspire others to join in the enterprise” struck a chord as I could immediately relate the statement to a teacher-librarian (Katie Day) at the United World College (SEA) Singapore, whom I had the good fortune of working with during my 10-day placement in Nov 2011. Katie is an amazing ‘Librarian 2.0’ and an exemplary leader who has typified many of the leadership attributes described by Donham such as being technically competent, has strong conceptual and people skills. She is proactive, has ability to anticipate and problem solve exemplifying internal locus of control on many occasions!

Donham, J. (2005). Leadership in enhancing teaching and learning: a leadership guide for school library media specialists (2nd ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Are today’s students increasingly ‘post-literate’?

Do you agree with Johnson that students, and indeed younger teachers, are increasingly ‘post-literate’ in the manner that he defines and uses this term? Are school libraries and their collections already adopting the critical attributes that Johnson is proposing?

  • Johnson (2010) defined post-literate “as those who can read but who choose to meet their primary information and recreational needs through audio, video, graphics and gaming.”For the middle school students where I teach, I would agree that they are increasingly ‘post-literate’ as most have easy access to ICT and the Internet. Being digital natives growing up with the Internet and interactive multimedia digital information, it would be the most natural behavior to prefer the multimedia, multiformat and multimodal information access. However, when situation demands that students refer to print or online e-databases recommended for research assignments, they would do the necessary. The critical attributes of a library that serves a post-literate(PL) users recommended by Johnson are daunting, however most school libraries, I believe would have some of the attributes at varying degrees. The  middle school library I work in do not have the following attributes:
    • Support of gaming for recreation.
    • Purchase of high-value online information resources due to budget constraints.
    •  Provision of resources to create visual and auditory materials vis-à-vis video production suite.

    ‘A library without books?’ by Mal Lee provided useful food for thoughts. Personally, I have associated the term, ‘library’ with ‘physical books’, as I grew up in a traditional library-a place for reading and loan of books. In order for our current Generation Y (1981-2000) students who are highly wired and social media savvy, we may have to embrace far more diverse information sources than books such as eBooks, e-Databases, e-magazines and other forms of digital resources. To remain relevant and connected to our students, the ‘library’ will have to be flipped and move with the changing emerging technologies, diverse format and mode of information delivery in the current digital environment.  Perhaps it is in this context, that Mal Lee suggested the notion of a library without books.  A change in nomenclature may be necessary now more than ever, to reflect the relevance of the library in today’s progressive digital world. The new label should be one that will profile the library as one that is current and progressive. In the school context, I concur with others that ‘information services centre’ is certainly not appropriate as it reminds me of what I see in shopping malls or hotels!!