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:
- what is the purpose and objectives
- Review previous research
- select data to be collected and methodology (collection-centred vs client-centred methods)
- select population sample (involve use of statistical techniques to ascertain sample-no of items in the collection or no of users)
- Collect and analyse data
- Facilitate replication-procedures to be documented so that it can facilitate future replication.
1) COLLECTION-CENTRED METHOD
- Analysing citations
- Applying collection standards
- Seeking expert opinion
2) CLIENT-CENTERED METHOD
- Studying circulation
- Studying ‘in-house’ use
- Studying availability and accessibility
- 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.
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