Unit 1 Part 2 Selection Process
Southern Connecticut State University
As the recently hired Head of Technical Services at a large library system located in the Midwest encompassing a population of 600,000 in 5,000 square miles, I have been given the task to establish a systematic selection process. The library system consists of ten branches serving a range of ages, educational levels, and ethnic backgrounds. There are two Division I universities as well as several business and community colleges in the service area. The libraryÕs mission statement is to be a cultural center, offering lifelong learning enrichment opportunities through access to ideas, information and the arts. The libraryÕs goal is to provide recreational and educational materials in a timely manner.
The organizational structure of the library begins at the top with The Board of Trustees consisting of four members appointed by the County government. The Director is ultimately responsible for the material selection as determined by policies established by the Board of Trustees. The Assistant Director and the Head of Technical Services report directly to the Director. In the absence of the Director or me, the Assistant Director acts in our capacity. In addition, the Assistant Director works with me to evaluate material reconsideration or special requests to verify the title meets the objectives and purpose of the libraryÕs collection. As Head of Technical Services, I receive the library systemÕs collection goals from the Director. My duties include overseeing the selection process, providing professional support for material selectors, monitoring each departmentÕs monthly statistics, and meeting monthly with the Director and Assistant Director to review usage reports and special requests as they arise to assess adherence to the Collection Development Policy by all departments and branches.
In order to understand the community and to administer the selection process, I would create two selection teams.
The first team is comprised of the ten Branch Managers, or their representative / acquisition manager, which will meet on a bi-monthly basis to monitor the centralized selection process and provide feedback.
Branch Managers – Because of diverse needs for each branch, Branch Managers are responsible for choosing, replacing, and de-selecting materials. Branch Managers may designate expert selectors for specific collections or genres within their branch from such groups as professional staff, paraprofessionals, volunteers, pages or patrons. The Branch Manager receives and evaluates requests for material consideration or replacement and determines is role within the branchÕs collection. Branch Managers must coordinate selections with the centralized catalog administered by Technical Services to meet their respective communityÕs needs.
The second team consists of Managers, or their representative/acquisition manager, from Reference, Technical Services, Public Relations, and Internet Services, which will meet on a quarterly basis to monitor the centralized selection process and provide feedback.
Reference – Responsible to maintain a current reference collection on a yearly basis while keeping an eye towards the unique needs of the branches and updating the branchesÕ general reference needs bi-yearly. The Manager monitors material titles and format to meet the libraryÕs collection objectives.
Technology Services – Responsible for serial and periodical selections, license review and negotiations, gift policy, replacement policy, and de-selection policy for the entire system. The Manager reviews technology resources based on user demand as well as the availability of the resource.
Internet Services – Oversees the information sources made available to the public and coordinates services to all branches as well as updates subscriptions, etc. in cooperation with Technical Services. Internet ServicesÕ responsibilities include evaluating the library systemsÕ access to resources and reliability. De-selection or resource update requests can be submitted by all to the Manager who evaluates and presents the request to me.
Public Relations – Communicates system-wide upcoming programs and initiatives with me in order to verify or request material in support of programming. Works with Head of Technical Services to announce process or procedure changes to the appropriate audience.
The following stakeholders are able to provide input into the selection process, but not the ultimate decision.
Paraprofessionals or Maintenance Staff – Supports many departments and the branches in many ways such as coordinating day-to-day details, collection assessment, re-shelving, or direct service to the patrons. In addition, this group may support Managers as subject specialists to determine acquisitions. Those in the Technical Services department collate weekly purchase orders, source hard-to-find materials, and work with key selectors across the system for recommended material.
Pages / Interns – Responsible to shelve returned material quickly and efficiently as well as any other duties outlined by their Manager. In addition, they are encouraged to submit material replacement or title consideration requests to the Manager to whom they report.
Volunteers – Report to the Assistant Director and perform shelving, cataloging, or any other duties as agree upon with the Assistant Director. In addition, they are encouraged to submit material replacement or title consideration requests to the Assistant Director. (Back to the top)
Although this is a very large library system, in many cases the same material and formats are needed in each branch in varying levels or at different times. In an effort to streamline the process and the overall collection, a centralized system is recommended for large systems so that each selector can provide a range of materials written with differing viewpoints, reading levels, and formats. I begin the process by:
1. Verify or re-visit the selection process of the existing collection development policy make sure it reflects the libraryÕs mission and collection objectives based on available funding. In addition, ensure that material selection criteria include, but are to limited to, assessments of the existing collecting, types of formats purchase, cooperative libraries, relationship to existing collection, relevance to the communities served, historical significance, gifts, information sources, and CREW (Continuous Review Evaluation & Weeding) dates (Texas State Library Assoc. web site, 2009). Material is shared within the system to meet the overall community demand.
2. Review statistics for the past two years for each branch and department. Analyze the turnover rate for each branchÕs collection as compared for the library as a whole and then by similar genres. Note any anomalies in usage for the one-on-one interviews, as there may have been a library initiative or a demographic change that resulted in this change.
3. Perform a cash flow analysis to determine percentages spent monthly by each department for the previous two years against the current budget to determine how each area can best acquire material.
4. In order to understand the current process, I will interview Managers and current selectors at their location to find out what currently works well or not. Review their departmentÕs statistics with the Managers as part of establishing expected performance as well as an understanding of what currently occurs.
5. During these on-sites visits shelf-scan, if possible, the branchesÕ or departmentÕs appearance. If the appearance is unattractive, determine the cause and work with the Manager to remedy the situation.
6. Based on current selectorsÕ feedback, plan a sample test of the new centralized system with one small and one large branch for a period of no less than six months ensuring that all formats and collections are included for a complete picture of how well the new process will work.
7. Present results to the Director and Managers/selectors to include a report on the state of the collection with an initial plan on any materials to acquire and goals to improve the collection. Reassure that with a centralized selection, the system will be able to provide more services to patrons as material can be selected within the system and sent to different branches or geographic areas. Instead of one item, three are available. The presentation can include a breakdown of the budget for collection development for each department, periodicals, Internet subscriptions, etc. to support centralized selection process. If a de-selection or weeding process is not part of the collection development policy, propose that library adopt C.R.E.W. Continuous Review Evaluation Weeding Method (Texas State Library Assoc. web site, 2009).
8. Once the new centralized selection process is tested and approved, a central catalog will be established at the Main Library.
9. Managers will be able to view orders in process from other branches online and can take their cue from the system and submit their selection to the existing order. Only a Manager or Director approved designee can place request.
10. Technical Services will group selections and place orders on Friday. During this process, a cursory audit of requests will occur to ensure selections support the libraryÕs mission and goals.
11. If there is a question on the order, Managers shall be notified on or before the third business day. However, with a dedicated and experienced team of selectors, deviation to the policy is anticipated to be rare.
a. Review possibility the material can be obtained by another source such as Inter Library Loan.
b. In-depth knowledge of a subject specialist petitions for their selection and sway the decision.
12. Audit results on a weekly basis for a minimum of six months and report findings to the Director and Managers. (Back to the top)
Within first months of hire, I will read the library usage reports and familiarize myself with the diverse community the library serves. I will meet with each Manager to find out the current situation of their respective collectionÕs strengths or weaknesses and share my goals and expectations for centralization. As part of the process to establish a centralized catalog from which all departments will order, I will choose one large and one small branch as the sample testing area for the new process for a minimum of six months to test and call those Managers bi-monthly to assess any issues or concerns during this testing period.
Once new system tested, I will establish a meeting schedule as previous described with the two teams via web conference with the understanding that changes, issues, concerns can be submitted at any time for consideration. And going forward at year-end, I will survey the staff and patrons on the new system and have one large year-end meeting with both teams to evaluate the overall selection process and make any changes deemed necessary.
Our patrons are the single most important determinant of the library buys. Selecting new materials is based foremost on past borrowing history and patronÕs requests, with consideration of the quality and cost of items. In selecting materials, the staff uses a variety of sources, including traditional library publications, broadcast and online media. The staff also reviews material from publishersÕ catalogs, local bookstores, other libraries, and increasingly, interlibrary loan data, staff knowledge of the community, and patronsÕ use.
Listed below are the sources used by the staff on a regular basis.
Traditional Print Sources
The New York Times Book Review
ChildrenÕs and Young Adult:
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
Audio and Video Collections:
Broadcast and Online Media Source:
National Public Radio (NPR)
Shelf Awareness eNewsletter
Fresh Press: Media Spotlight on Books and Authors
Texas State Library and Archives Commission. (2009, June 10) CREW: A weeding manual for modern libraries. Austin : Texas 2008. Retrieved from http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/ (Back to the top)