EnglishLibrary Science

Collection Development and Library

Collection development is systematic planning and rational building of library material. The term includes all activities involved in assessing the users’ need, evaluating the present collection, determining the selection policy, coordinating the selection of items, re-evaluating and storing parts of the collection and planning for resource sharing. It is not a single activity, but an agglomeration of activities (Parameswaran, 1997). Similarly ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science (1983) defines collection development as, ” a term which encompasses a number of activities related to the development of the library collection, including the determination and coordination of selection policy, assessment of needs of users and potential users, collection use studies, collection evaluation, identification of collection needs, selection of materials, planning for resources sharing, collection maintenance and weeding” Shipman, (1975) has also defined it as “the sum total of library materials; books, pamphlets, manuscripts, punched cards, serials, government documents, microfiches and computer tapes, etc. that makes up the holdings of a particular library. In other words, it is planned; systematic development of an already existing collection.”

Collection development is a plan which can be implemented and evaluated.

The process involves three main aspects:

  • Collection planning- a design to acquire documents.
  • Collection implementation process of making documents available.
  • Collection evaluation -examining and judging the relevance in relation to goals and objectives.

Collection development is actually a blueprint for the maintenance and expansion of the library’s collection in all formats. It is based on a strategic policy which is responsible for selecting materials for the library to understand the philosophy and rationale that guides the development of the collection. With this, the library is able to allocate acquisition funds wisely, shape a strong collection and inform the user community about the nature of the collection. University of Connecticut School of Law (2003) also defines collection development as “It evolved to emphasise the needs of users and to assess their changing attitude towards the collection. Collection development is sometimes considered as synonymous to `collection building’ which means that there is already a nucleus (the central and most important part of an object, movement, or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth) of collection in the library and the librarian is going to build up the collection”.

Since the beginning libraries have been providing various services such as issuing books and personally guiding users to the actual source. The vast array of services that most of the libraries provide consists of circulation, reference, reprography, translation, current awareness and selective dissemination of information etc.; but now the mode of services have been drastically changed to provide access to resources rather than providing the documents itself. This paradigm shift is because of the ICT revolution that has compelled libraries to modify the existing mode of services. This developmental change has not only occurred in Academic Law Libraries, but also court libraries and government law libraries in Delhi.


Collected from: Khayal, R. (2013). Collection Development and Services in Law Libraries in Delhi A Comparative Study.

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Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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