We’ve all been there. Collection development and maintenance can be time-consuming and stressful. You may find yourself wondering, Which publisher catalogs should I be going through? Which new titles are worth spending my limited budget on? Wait, did I just order book six in a series when I don’t have books 1–5?  

That’s why I love presenting training webinars on Core Collections. It’s your single resource for quickly identifying quality new titles for purchase, titles you need to fill collection gaps, and titles you should consider weeding. Here are the five things that I can’t wait to show library staff during Core Collections training — the stuff I know will make their jobs easier! 

1. Core Collections helps you prioritize.  
Never worry about squandering limited budget funds on less-than-stellar titles! With Core Collections’ four levels of recommendations — Essential, Recommended, Supplemental, or Weeded — it’s easy to spend wisely. Smaller budget? Stick to titles at the Essential level. Mid-sized budget? Go for Essential and Recommended. Large budget? Check out Essential, Recommended, and Supplemental titles. 
The recommendation levels are assigned by an advisory committee of distinguished librarians, so you can feel comfortable as you are selecting the best titles for your library size and budget. Learn more about the selection process and recommendation levels in the Core Collections Development Policy

2. Get a list of titles to help you fill collection gaps. 
Are your K-3 picture books reaaaallllly out-of-date? Do you only have five books in your travel guides section? By using the Advanced Search feature in Core Collections, you can quickly pull together a list of titles for purchase to fill in those gaps. 
If you want to enhance your Spanish language adult fiction collection with Essential titles published within the last two years, in the Advanced Search section in Core Collections, select the following limiters: 

Recommendation Level: Essential and Recommended 
Published Date: Start year 2021 – End year 2023 
Grade Level: Adult 
At the search results, in the Refine Results area under Databases, limit to Core Collection en Español. And just like that, you have a list of titles you can confidently consider for purchase. 

3. Stop dual-screen whiplash. 
Wish you could tell which titles on your Core Collections search results list were already in your collection without having to constantly look back and forth to your catalog? You can with local collections! Local collections let you see immediately if you have the edition(s) of a title we recommend, and you can use this as a limiter in your searches.  
Even more helpful? Include the expression NOT LO “your collection name here” to search only for items not in your collection. 
4. Go ahead, weed that book! 
I know that weeding can be one of the most uncomfortable parts of collection maintenance. Should I weed it? If I do, should I buy a replacement? Never wonder again with the Core Collections recommendation level Weeded! This recommendation level is applied to titles that were once at higher recommendation levels but are now recommended for weeding because the content is out-of-date or a newer edition exists. So go ahead, and weed away. Your collection will thank you for it.  
5. Never miss a new popular or Essential title again. 
Are your patrons clamoring for the hot new cookbook they keep hearing about? All abuzz about the latest installment in The Rajes series? And, oh no! Somehow you missed ordering them. Save yourself from a future facepalm by setting up email alerts in Core Collections. Simply do a search, create an alert, and like magic, you’ll get an email letting you know when titles are added that meet your search criteria. You’ll never miss out on popular authors, series titles, or Essential titles again. 
Phew! Did you just breathe a sigh of relief and think, “Wow. Collection development and maintenance CAN be quick and stress-free!”? If you did and you can’t wait to learn more about Core Collections, sign up for the next Core Collections training webinar on Thursday, April 27th, at 2 p.m. ET. Hope to see you there! 

Core Collections Overview

Core Collections helps you build and maintain your collection with confidence. Join us for this 1-hour overview of key features and learn search strategies you can use to help you make informed decisions on which books your library should buy, retain, or weed.

Caleigh Haworth is an Engagement Consultant for NoveList. She is currently reading A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham.