As you prepare your library for the new school year, it’s a good time to review your collection development policy around digital resources. How well does your school library collection meet the needs of your users? Consider your students, teachers, support staff, administrators and parents.
According to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, “School librarians cooperate with other individuals in building collections of resources that meet the needs as well as the developmental and maturity levels of students. These collections provide resources that support the mission of the school district and are consistent with its philosophy, goals and objectives. Resources in school library collections are an integral component of the curriculum and represent diverse points of view on both current and historical issues. These resources include materials that support the intellectual growth, personal development, individual interests and recreational needs of students.”
Step 1: Collection Analysis — Assess What You Have
Begin by identifying your library’s strengths and weaknesses. Which collections are most important to students? To teachers? To administrators? Which topics are well-covered? Which are not?
Consider keeping the following:
- Classics and award winners
- Books about local history
- Yearbooks and other school publications
- Titles on current reading lists
- Out-of-print titles that are still useful
- Biographical sources
Step 2: Weeding — Remove What You Don’t Need
The benefits of weeding your library collection are numerous. The more you weed what’s not being used, the more appealing your collection becomes. The more appealing your collection becomes, the more the items will circulate. Removing books also means fewer standing shelves taking up valuable floor space you’d rather devote to a maker station or student lounge.
Remove from your collection any books or digital resources that are outdated, not being used, no longer support your school’s curriculum, or fail to meet the recreational interests of your users. A review of your library’s circulation statistics will help with your evaluation.
Here are a few criteria to consider in developing your weeding policy for fiction and nonfiction:
- Copyright dates
- Physical condition of item
- Last circulation date
- Availability of newer editions
Be sure to schedule weeding activities for when you are least likely to be interrupted. For more weeding tips, check out high school librarian Kelsey Bogan’s Recipe for a Successful Weeding Campaign.
Step 3: Collection Development — Collect for Curriculum Success
When adding new content to your library, keep an eye towards your school’s curriculum guidelines and AASL’s National School Library Standards.
Consider materials that…
- Reflect modern society
- Reflect diverse viewpoints
- Include voices of marginalized groups (#ownvoices)
- Come in various formats (electronic, print and non-print) and text complexity levels to address learning differences
- Satisfy the curricular needs as well as the individual recreational and research needs of students, faculty and staff
Cool Tools for Building Your Collection
EBSCO offers several digital resources to help fill in content area gaps and build a library collection that supports student learning, classroom instruction and extra-curricular interests.
- Core Collections™ databases offer impartial authoritative guidance to help librarians build and maintain a well-rounded collection of the most highly recommended reference books, nonfiction, fiction and graphic novels. Using Core Collections, including the reviews, awards information, and subject headings by NoveList®, will assist you in selecting appropriate and relevant learning materials for your library and school classrooms.
- EBSCO eBooks™ offer high-quality, curriculum-appropriate digital content and include collections of Lexile® leveled titles and popular young adult (YA) fiction. The use of e-books in schools offers several benefits for both students and teachers.
- Flipster® provides digital access to hundreds of relevant magazines and trade publications to support K-12 teaching and learning. Magazines include TIME, The Nation, Science News and award-winning children’s titles from Cricket Media.
- NoveList® Plus and NoveList® K-8 Plus have detailed metadata that includes biographical information about authors including gender and geographic and cultural identity. Using the NoveList databases will help you expand the diversity of the books you recommend to both students and staff.