Unit 1 Part 1 Collection Policy Analysis
Southern Connecticut State University
ILS 519 S 70 Collection Development
Part 1—Collection Development Policy Analysis
Beginning on page 53 of your text, you’ll see the elements of a collection policy detailed for you. Make sure to read and re-read Chapter 3 thoroughly so you can complete this assignment knowledgeably.
You are to select a collection development policy to use for this assignment. You have a choice of sources.
A. If you wish, you may use the policy from the library in which you work ; or
B. You may use the policy from the public library that you use on a regular basis; or
C. You may go to Google or your favorite search engine and type in “library collection development policies.” You’ll find there are collection development policies for all kinds of libraries. Select a policy that you like from the type of library that you want to work in once you have your MLS.
Your job is to compare and contrast the policy you select with the elements that Evans says a policy should contain. Feel free to be critical, since this may be the only time you’ll get to take a policy apart.
Make sure to identify the library and give the url for its web site. If the policy has a url of its own, include that, too. If the policy is short, you might want to include it in your paper, adding your comments to it directly.
Trumbull Library System
Web site.: http://www.trumbullct-library.org/
Collection Development Policy http://www.trumbullct-library.org/Policies.htm
Gift Policy http://www.trumbullct-library.org/Policies.htm
Trumbull Library System
Collection Development Policy
In keeping with the Trumbull Library System’s mission “to serve as a community center, actively enriching the inter-generational learning and leisure opportunities in Trumbull,” the collection must be composed of materials to support this mission. Therefore, the professional librarians will seek to provide materials which meet both the educational and entertainment needs of people of all ages and stages in Trumbull.
The Library Board is ultimately responsible for the acquisition of all materials as the governing body. The Board then delegates the actual purchasing responsibility to the Director, who in turn, may decide to ask the advice of the Library staff based on their expertise and interests.
Guiding principles for the acquisition of collection materials:
1. Resources should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
2. There should be the fullest practicable provision of resources presenting all points of view on current and historical issues.
3. Resources should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
4. Using available funds, resources shall be selected with due consideration to supply, demand, relevance, reliability, literary significance, and format.
Use of Library resources by children is the responsibility of their guardians. Selections shall not be inhibited by the possibility that resources may come into the hands of children.
The Library subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement and supportive documents of the American Library Association.
• Copies of statements are attached to this document.
This “Collection Development Policy” is subject to change at the discretion of the Trumbull Library Board of Trustees.
“In accordance with the General State Statutes of Connecticut, Section 11-23, The Trumbull Library System Board of Trustees shall make and adopt bylaws, rules and regulations for the government of the Library and reading room.”
Adopted by the Trumbull Library Board of Trustees ~12/3/03
I chose to benchmark Trumbull Library System’s (TLS) Collection Development Policy against G. Edward Evans’ (2005) three major elements that comprise a good collection development policy statement: overview, details of subject areas and formats collects, and miscellaneous issues. The policy posted on Trumbull Library Systems’ web site. is currently pending Board of Trustee review. According to the 2000 census, Trumbull’s population was reported as 34,243 of which 94% is white and a median income of $79,000 (epodunk.com, 2007). In addition, I selected three libraries of varying demographics to illustrate how a library can incorporate these elements into a policy. I chose Westport Public Library (WPL), Westport, Connecticut whose population as of the 2000 census was reported as 25,749, 95% white, with a median income of $199,00; Milford Public Library (MPL), Milford, Connecticut, 51,700 population, 91% white and $71,800 median income, and Washoe County Library System (WCLS), Washoe County, Nevada, 384,000 population, 81% white and median income $45,800. (epodunk.com, 2007). Each institution’s collection policy includes many of Evans’ recommended elements with varying degrees of detail. (Back to the top)
Trumbull Library System’s Collection Development Policy includes the library’s mission statement and states that the collection must support the mission statement in order to serve all ages for their recreational and educational purposes in all formats to the best of the Library’s ability within budgetary constraints. In addition, it reaffirms TLS position to adhere to the Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read statement as supported by the American Library Association.
This one-page document provides a solid basis upon which the selectors can build the library’s collection and The Trumbull Library System can build a stronger policy. Although TLS may have a general community description in other documents, TLS could consider reiterating that description again here as well as including any forecasted changes to the community’s demographics that may impact services such as and service issues. Without the community’s description, TLS is not able to measure its performance in serving the community properly measured against traffic and usage reports as Evans recommends. With 2010 census approaching, TLS may want to consider incorporating these updated statistics into the policy’s community description to ensure it is meeting its mission.
In addition TLS may want to consider adding information about its branch’s, the Fairchild-Nichols Memorial Library (Branch), role in the community in the history and overview statement. This is important because the policy is silent as to how the collection is developed between the two entities. Although TLS may have working knowledge as to whether material is purchased separately or concurrently for each library, TLS could consider clearly outlining the purchasing relationship and to what proportion between them. Although material may be shared between the Main Library and the Branch, a clear definition of the relationship will prevent confusion and duplication of resources.
TLS’ Collection Policy provides a general definition of the parameters of the collection. As Evans suggests, TLS could provide more information on the subject fields in one of two methods. First, WPL lists a description and collection criteria for 38 sub-collections in the Adult collection, a paragraph for the Young Adult, and another 30 sub-collections for Children’s (WPL, page 12). In addition, WPL states that community interest, usage, current events, culture as well as balanced viewpoints determine selection (Westport PL, Page 2). Alternatively, WCLS chose to group their collection into four service roles: Current Topics and Titles, Lifelong Learning, General Information, and Commons (space to have pubic discourse) (WCLS page 1 & 2).
Detailed description of the types of programs or patron needs the collection must meet
Again TLS’ general statement that the collection will provide educational and recreational needs of all is a solid foundation. Once TLS has a clear community description, TLS could consider clarifying its role with education support by considering adding a paragraph similar to MPL that states very clearly how MPL augments, but does not provide, educational texts as well as outlining how MPL will support Summer Reading Lists (MPL, page 14).
Articles 2 and 4 of TLS’ policy addresses the limitations of adding to the collection but does not provide information on the selection of various formats or how to add retrospective materials. Although there may be working knowledge on how to treat audio books, DVDs, and duplicate copies, the policy can be strengthened by adding clear instructions how each type of material shall be administered along with another. For instance, WPL’s Collection Development Policy’s Article VI delineates the selection process including standing orders, gifts, multiple copies, and the tools used to determine the selection (WPL, pp. 3-4).
TLS’ well-written Gift Policy is a separate document on the web site. As a Collection Development Policy can become unwieldy when posted on a web site., TLS could consider leaving the Gift policy as a stand-alone in addition to adding it to the main document.
TLS’ policy does not mention if it participates in cooperative library association, how interlibrary loan affects collection decisions, or if it specializes in a particular subject area like in genealogy or Trumbull history. As Evans suggests, outlining how a library interfaces with other libraries, schools, or other institutions will impact purchasing decisions. TLS may consider adding a similar statement that WCLS’ policy makes that not all libraries can purchase all materials and consideration is given to other sources of materials in other communities for each area of the collection (WCLS, Page 1). (Back to the top)
Evans endorses that a collection development policy delineate patrons, materials collected and the primary user groups for each subject as well as a rating system to be used to assess with each category (Evans, p. 56). There is several collection rating models or guidelines TLS can consider to rate the collection and assess material needs such as WCLS’ model which clearly defines collection levels as: Basic Level, General Interest, Study Level, and Advanced Interest Study Level. WCLS uses a modification of the American Library Association’s Guidelines for the Formulation of Collection Development Polices 1st edition along with Dewey Decimal categories to determine if a subject can be studied across all three levels or in just one level. Each Dewey class includes a description, assessment of current holdings, collection level, a retention and de-selection schedule, and future development plan (WCLS, p5).
TLS’ policy is consistent with the three libraries as TLS’ collection is available to all and will not be prohibited or sectioned off to children as the responsibility of the child’s materials are the parent’s or caregiver’s. As Evans suggests, WCLS and WPL provide a detailed list of users it supports such as shut-ins and schools. Once TLS defines its users groups, TLS could consider adding this information in order to assess its performance in meeting their needs during the evaluation process.
Article 4 maintains that TLS will provide as many formats as the budget will allow. However, there is no mention as to how each format relates to another in a particular subject area based on a collection analysis, an assessment tool or an outline of how material will be added to the collection. As Evans recommends that the policy be the standard for all selectors to base their purchases, TLS may want to consider expanding Article 4 to include similar definitions that WPL’s sub-collections have along with information as to how and when one will be purchased in support or in lieu of another (WPL, pp. 7-11). Alternatively, WCLS delineates material format, including electronic resources, as a separate Article in their policy states enabling the library to purchase as many formats of the same item to serve the greatest percentage of their population (WCLS, page 3).
TLS’ policy is clear that the Board of Trustees is responsible for the acquisition of all materials but the actual purchasing is delegated to the Library Director. While this general statement gives the Director flexibility to determine which professional librarian on staff may be the most suited to purchase items to the collection, it does not satisfy Evans contention that there should be no doubt to the reader about roles, responsibilities, and the resources to aid in the selection process. Also, TLS does not mention in the policy of how to request a purchase or to file a complaint. There is a Purchase Request and a Complaint Form on the web site. so TLS may consider adding the process to file the respective forms and indicating where to locate them on the web site. as well as including a copy in the policy.
If after detailed analysis of its collection, TLS could consider adding WCLS verbiage that the Head of Collections overseas the process and provides professional support to selectors with which tools (WCLS, Page 2). In addition, TLS could clarify reporting dynamics in the selection process, who examines the community’s needs, and who makes the final selection.
As previously mentioned, TLS’ policy has a Gift Policy, Material Request Form, and a Complaint Form all of which could be incorporated into the larger collection development policy along with TLS’ process to these situations. Evans advises that these separate policy elements can be lengthy and could become stand-alone policies as long as the main policy refers to them or provides a summary. Other elements to consider expanding the process and assessment methods are de-selection and discards and electronic resources. TLS may want to consider adding more information similarly to WPL’s description, collection criteria and role within the collection for each sub-collection, including electronic resources, as well as when new formats will be considered purchased (WCLS, page 1). Lastly, TLS will want to consider adding a formal policy and collection review timetable to the current amendment article.
The current policy is a good beginning to create a consistently strong collection that will attract patrons and validate the annual budget subscribed to the library. Before adopting the suggestions mentioned prior, the Director may consider bringing together a cross-functional team to create a survey for identified selectors to determine the current health of the collection and collection development policy plan. After review with the staff, the Board and the community, TLS will be able establish a baseline assessment of their collection.
Although this is a time consuming and costly process, once established, TLS will become consistent with other libraries of similar demographics and the policy will create standards for all departments again which individual and library performance can be measured. The policy in is entirety and by certain sections such a gifts and complaints, can be posted on TLS’ web site. for easy referral. If budget constraints prohibit a full analysis, perhaps certain elements can be included now such as community description and the current standard operating procedures from which future analysis can take place.
As part of the Trumbull Library System’s Master Plan and reflecting the goals and mission of the Board of Trustees and presents a clear outline for the staff and the pubic to refer to when a collection question arises. (Back to the top)