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Collection development guidelines written in collaboration with the whole school staff, provide a set of principles to ensure that the school library develops and maintains a 'balanced, relevant and dynamic collection' which satisfies the needs of its users. It should reflect the school philosophy and development plan.
Challenge guidelines should also be incorporated to provide guidelines on the rare occasion that a resource may be considered controversial or offensive to some members of the school community.
Information on collection development is available from the Australian School Library Association website:
See also the following information resources:
A school library resource centre should provide access to a wide range of quality resources which support curriculum needs and trends, enhance the recreational interests of all students and are matched to appropriate levels. These resources should also support the goals and priorities set by the school.
Selection is a systematic process based on:
It is the responsibility of the teacher librarian or resource teacher in collaboration with teachers and other professional staff to select material for the resource centre. These professional staff should have knowledge of:
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the number of alerts to newly published resources and other selection aids. Those listed are just a start. With experience library staff will build up a range of tools suited to their school's needs. Be aware of the source and authority of chosen selection tools, allowing for the particular focus, even bias, of each.
Resources should only be purchased if they:
A particular school's choice of selection tools will depend on available budget, staff time and on identified needs.
Online selection guides
Teachers', librarians' and readers' blogs, wikis and other 'sharings'
Approval resources from booksellers
Suggestions from teachers, students, administrators and parents
Lists of recommended books
See web pages of the various publishers to subscribe to newsletters and other pre-publication alerts.
Many also provide author information, teachers' notes, reviews from various sources and sometimes extracts from books.
Many interested people such as teachers, authors, librarians and generally interested people publish preferences and resource ideas on the Internet. A general search will bvring them to the fore. featured books and events are often listed.
It is important to adhere to the school's collection policy when selecting books from booksellers.
A suggestion box or pad can be left near the checking-out point to encourage staff and students to suggest resources to purchase.
Literary awards provide a useful check against your collection. Be aware of the criteria by which the award is judged. Include fiction and non-fiction awards.
Recommendation lists include the following examples:
All time bests:
The following organisations and journals publish annual best lists.
Periodicals are valuable sources of current information as well as useful resources for recreational reading.
A policy on periodical selection and purchase should be developed by teaching staff, and periodicals evaluated at regular intervals for usage, for their ability to complement the curriculum, and for their relevance to client needs.
A periodicals collection should be:
It is useful to identify:
It is recommended that:
Resources donated to the school library should be added to the collection only if they:
Donors should be informed that their donation undergoes the same selection process as any other resource under consideration for inclusion into the collection.
Challenged resources are those that may be considered controversial or offensive to members of the school community. It is important that schools have guidelines and procedures in place to deal with any challenges that may arise.
Guidelines and procedures regarding challenged resources should be developed within the school community. The Policy Statement – School Library Bill of Rights from the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) website is a useful starting point, as well as the school’s own Collection Development Guidelines.
Dealing with challenges should be a systematic process involving:
Page last updated 19 November 2013