Collection development is both a form of art and a practice in precision. When done well, it captures the needs and imagination of an entire community. 

Over the years I have watched many colleagues display their unique way of selecting titles; each considering various factors before jotting down a book to purchase. So, here’s a bit of a loaded question: What type of selector are you? Are stacks of journals and magazines at your desk with Post-it tabs sticking out from the side of pages? Or maybe a stack of cue cards with titles, ISBNs, and notes neatly organized?

I was very much a spreadsheet selector. I loved having my columns with all the book’s information, along with genre and reading level (color-coded, of course!).

Regardless of your method, collection development is a process, and it can be difficult even for the most seasoned librarians. When I worked in libraries, I wondered why there wasn’t a tool for librarians that could help us determine if a book was right for our readers by giving us a bit of information about the book like genre, subjects, awards, and summaries. What I wanted was a way to simplify and streamline the selection process.

There is such a tool! Core Collections gives you everything you need in one place to make informed and confident collection decisions.

Readers' needs are always evolving, and Core Collection designates a recommendation level (Essential, Recommended, and Supplemental) to each title in each of the seven collections, helping you decide if a book is right for that specific area.

Essential titles are “the best of the best” and include many award-winners. If you’re curious, I’ve put together a sample list of the essential titles currently listed in each of the seven Core Collections. If you don’t have these books in your collection, now is the time to order them!

Children's Core Collection:

Ancient Night (Mar 2023) by David Alvarez with David Bowles

  • Starred Reviews
  • Subjects: Indigenous people of North America
  • Genres: Picture Books for Children; Pourquoi tales; Folklore

Middle and Junior High Core Collection:

Tiger Daughter (Aug 2023) by Rebecca Lim

  • Awards
  • Subjects: Self-fulfillment in children; Children of immigrants
  • Genre: Australian fiction

Senior High Core Collection:

Warrior Girl Unearthed (May 2023) by Angeline Boulley

  • Awards 
  • Subjects: Twin sisters; Missing persons; Ojibwe (North American people); Multiracial teenagers 
  • Genres: Thrillers and suspense; First person narratives

Fiction Core Collection:

The Last Devil to Die (Sep 2023) by Richard Osman

  • Awards
  • Subjects: Seniors; Amateur detectives; retirement communities
  • Genre: Mysteries; Multiple perspectives

Nonfiction Core Collection:

King: A Life (May 2023) by Jonathan Eig

  • Starred Reviews
  • Subjects: Civil Rights Movement, African American civil rights workers
  • Genre: Biographies; Page to screen, Life stories

Graphic Novels Core Collection:

Nejishiki (Apr 2023) by Yoshiharu Tsuge

  • Starred Review
  • Subjects: Misfits (People); Small towns; counterculture
  • Genre: Manga

Core Collection en Español:

Cien Cuyes (May 2023) by Gustavo Rodriguez

  • Awards
  • Peruvian People; Senior Women; Senior Men: Caretakers
  • Relationship fiction; Latin American Spanish Language materials; Original Spanish-language materials

Regardless of the area of collection you oversee, Core Collections can help you create a lasting connection with readers by ensuring that your collection provides the books they need.

Maria Fonseca-Gonzalez is a NoveList Librarian and when she isn’t singing songs from the movie, she is reading Trolls Band Together: Little Golden Book by David Lewman to her daughter.