Collection Development of Library


The primary purpose of libraries is to preserve knowledge which is available in any documentary form. However, the scope has widened to ensure that the user is satisfied. University libraries acquire the documents to provide the documents or information to satisfy the changing needs of the students, faculty and researchers. The objective of the libraries has been subject to transformation from preservation to provision of information to utmost satisfaction of the user. The term “Collection Development” (CD) has been evolved to emphasize personalized services to satisfy user’s demand.

Collection Development encompasses all plans formulated for the systematic and rational building of a collection. The term includes a group of activities i.e. assessing the user needs, evaluating the present collection, determining selection policy, coordinating selection of items, re-evaluating and storing parts of the collection, and planning for resource sharing. A collection development policy involves selection and acquisition (procurement) of library materials to meet both present and future user requirements which is constrained by limited financial resources, diversity of user information needs and availability of vast sources of information. The topic ‘Collection Development is a planning and decision making process that covers-broad range of activities related to the policies and procedures of selection, assessment of user needs, evaluating present collection, weeding out, and storing parts of the collection and planning for resource sharing.

Collection Development: A Concept:

A collection development process is that which permits the library to develop a collection of materials responding to the information needs and service requirements of the users. It has also been defined “as a process that allows for the identification of the strengths and weaknesses of the materials collection of a library in terms of the needs of the users and the resources of the community. It is a universal process in the library world in which the library professional assembles a variety of materials in order to satisfy the demands of the users. This dynamic and constant cycle brings together six elements: user study, policies, selection, acquisition, weeding and evaluation”. Sanchez defines collection development as a process which assumes that the information needs of the users are satisfied in an economic fashion and inside of a reasonable period of time using resources as much internal as external to the organization.

Collection development can be divided into two parts; such as, “basic functions” and “Umbrella function”. They are briefly described as below:

Basic-functions are performed by all academic libraries development process,, i.e., selection of library materials, acquisitions donations, weeding, preservation, and intellectual freedom, and

Umbrella functions are performed to inform library staff of the constituents of collection development process itself, i.e., Collection Development Policies, Users Needs Assessment, and Collection Assessment. Though these are not necessarily performed by all academic libraries, however these are vital tools of collection development.

According to Evans collection development consists of Community. It is the group of people who use the services of the library and may be a political unit (a country, a state, a municipality) or an entity more specialized (a university, a school, a research center, a firm) collection development therefore includes analysis of Community, Collection Policies, Selection Policies, Acquisitions, discarding Policies and evaluation of collection.

Factors Affecting Collection Development process of Library:

Aims and objectives of the parent institution is the basis for framing priorities of collection development. For example, library’s objective is to contribute’ to maximize the organization’s profits if the aim of its parent organization is related to profit. Collection development is a continuous process and it requires utmost attention on the part of the policy makers. Following important factors should be kept in mind while formulating collection development policy:

i) Philosophy of the Organization;

ii) Nature of the community;

iii) High standards of intellectual contents;

iv) Relevance of contents;

v) Cooperation and networking;

vi) Access vs. ownership;

vii) Relationship with other information service units;

viii) Availability of budget and existing reasons; and

ix) Revision of policy.


Prerequisites of Collection Development:

Collection development is an interplay of the libraries aims and strategies of the librarian and, his staff in order to meet the user’s requirement and, for its implementation; a clear policy of acquisition, periodic evaluation of the
collection and the systematic weeding out of documents.

Bloomfield observed that the collection development involves identification of some of the key issues such as:

(a) Identification of the purpose and mission of the library / parent organization.
(b) The library staff or a committee formulates the library’s collection development policy.
(c) Matching between users’ requirements and institution’s aim and objectives.
(d) Budgetary provisions and the contingent problems,
(e) Working out the strategies for implementing the policies and programmes; and
(f) Policy statements have to be maintained, revised and updated.

Collection development is thus a dynamic and continuous activity, which involves the users, the library staff, and the subject experts on selection team. It is a process to develop a need-based, up-to-date, and balanced collection which is sufficient to meet the document and information needs of the users.

Collection development in other words is an efficiency audit aspect of a library, its use is enhanced by efficient organization of the collection, accessibility to it, circulation of the documents, and maintenance of the collection. Element of objectivity has been introduced in collection development process with the development of quantitative techniques and other parameters for usage of documents. Ranganathan’s First Law of Library Science; Books are for
use, is however, a seminal guide for this purpose.

Methods of Collection Development in Library:

There are various methods of collection development which are as follows

1) Purchase:— It is the primarily method of acquiring documents in a library. Library acquire most documents in by directly purchasing them from the publishers or agent if there is no other way is open for the collection development.

2) Gift / donations:— Gift is an important source of developing library collections. No library can afford to purchase all the reading materials needed or demanded by the users of the library. So up to some extent library rely on this method. Some publisher provides specimen copies of the documents to the library. These specimen copies are come under the category of gift.

3) Institutional membership:— The library may enlist itself as a member of learned societies and various institutions which publish useful materials often the membership subscription may cover the right to receive their publication either free of cost or at confessional prices.

4) Deposit system— It entitles some specially designated libraries to receive free copies of the publications brought out by government, national and international organizations. There are many university libraries and state central libraries enjoying these benefits.

5) Exchange:— Exchange is another important method of building up the library collection. Exchange of materials between libraries, learned societies, institutions and government serve a number of purposes such as:

i) Procurement of out of-print and rare books that cannot be obtained from any other sources.

ii) Acquiring publication which are not for sale or not distributed in the usual book trade channels which is particularly true in case o foreign government documents and reports.

iii) Obtaining government publications on a regular basis.

iv) Using to best advantage the duplicates of the library as well as its own publications or those of the parent organization by offering them in return for publications not represented in the library’s collection.

It is thus a valuable source for filling up gaps in the collections. Exchange also promotes good will among the libraries especially at the national level.

Objectives of Collection Development:

The objective of collection development is to build a library collection which will supply a continuously to support expanding store of useful information to support and enrich the programs of its parent organization. In order to provide the best materials for the implementation of its duties, the library requires guidelines for collection development. The policies which are of necessity to provide needed, from the framework for building the library collection.

Collection development is a plan which can be implemented and evaluated. It is a process of intertwining of (i) information resource (ii) information use and use demands and (iii) fiscal resources. The process involves mainly three aspects.

– Collection planning;
– Collection implementation; &
– Collection evaluation.


Collection Development Policy of Library

It is the course of action adopted for developing the collection or stock in a library. A library can be unwritten convention or a written document. The American Library Association Collection Development Committee when preparing “Guidelines for the formation of collection development policies” assumed that a written collection development policy for any library a desirable too which enables selectors to work with grater consistency towards defined goals, thus shaping stronger collection and using limited funds more wisely.

A written collection development policy is more preferred to non—written policy. A collection Development policy consists of following:

A. Responsibility for selection:

In the academic environment, selection of library materials is a joint responsibility of teaching faculty and the library professional staff. The primary responsibility for the co-ordination of collection development process lies with the Collection Development Librarian. While recommendation from teaching faculty are welcomed and solicited , the library professional staff will carry the responsibility for ordering in areas not covered by faculty( e.g. reference, General, etc.) and / or remaining budget not yet encumbered , so as to achieve a balanced collection, and to make that the total allocated budget is encumbered . The ultimate responsibility for collection development direction and policy decision, including and quality of selections, rests with Library Director and under his or her direction with the Collection Development Librarian.

B. Factor to consider the selection:

In selecting materials for library the library, factors to be considered are as follow:

1. The procurement or timely value of the material for interest, information, or enlightenment.

2. The accuracy of materials.

3. The usefulness of the materials with aspect to each other material already in the collection.

4. The probable usage of the material in the educational and research mission of the University / Institute.

5. For serials priority for titles that are analyzed in standard indexing and / or abstracting services to which the library provide access, for support of subject areas with new degree programs, for deficiencies indicated by comparison studies with other universities and or for access to a title unavailable in the document delivery system when the title is to support a new degree program.

C. Materials to be Acquired teaching and research programs of the university:

The library, Will acquire as far as permit, all materials needed to support the teaching and research programs of the university / Institute. Due to the diversity, extent, and unique character of research endeavors, it id not financially feasible to build a collection comprehensive enough to support all research interests. Electronic database searching, networking and Inter-library Loans are among the alternative methods, which may be considered in providing access to research materials. A limited number of current Publication of Best Seller books. The majority of materials acquired will include monograph , sets, maps, journals, and other serials publication , newspaper, pamphlets, photo, reproduction , government document , microfilms, archival materials m manuscripts, audiovisual materials and other items commonly included as part of library resources, except for special text books and juvenile collections, the library will not normally purchase materials to be used solely for classroom instruction such as cliff notes , study guides, etc.

D. Budgetary Considerations:

Budget allocation is not made especially to departments independent of the library. The procedure followed in allocating funds to the various subject areas may be based on a formula with factors, such as number of students enrolled at various levels, number of courses. Offered in each discipline during a particular semester, circulation records, and average price of book in each discipline considered. A copy of the formula for monograph allocation is available at the Collection Development office. Exceptions are made for subject areas where there are extra funds available though special line item accounts.

E. Format:

All books will be ordered in whatever format is requested by Librarians/ Faculty members. In case the format is not identified, books will be ordered in hard copy. If the requested format is not available, whatever available format will be ordered in hard copy, unless it is specified otherwise by the librarian.


Principles of collection development:

There are some principles of selection. These principles which guide the librarian in making a judicious choice of a document. The production of document today is very large. Thousand of them are in wide varieties. With the help of these, following principles are developed a meaningful collection of documents in the libraries.

Selection of document is both an art and a science. The following principles of selection are important and should be given weight age.

They are as follows-

a. Drury’s principles The basic principle which still governs the selection of reading material for a library was enunciated by Drury in 1930. It states “To provide the right book to the right reader at the right time.” The reader is the central theme. A document is right or otherwise is in relation to a reader. It is to be provided when the reader needs it fir use. The selector should know the readers and their requirements. He should select only that material which caters to the informational, educational and recreational needs of the readers. The selected material should be procured expeditiously to be made available to the user when he needs it. Knowing the needs of the readers and knowing the documents which can meet these need is important in making the selection of document, but important this is the creation of an efficient mechanism to ensure the availability of the selected material at the right time.

b. Dewey’s principles: Melvil Dewey’s principle states “The best reading for the largest number at the least cost.” According to this principle a library should select within the financial resources available the best document which may satisfies the information needs of the maximum number of readers. The term best means a document which may be the best in its own field, the best that will be read, and the best of which good use will be made, and the best that will answer a certain demand. The best documents are those which satisfies the demands of the user for recreation, knowledge and study; the document which cater the social and cultural needs of the user.

c. Ranganathan’s laws and document selection: Ranganathan’s first three laws of library science are helpful in formulating the principle of document selection. First law makes it obligatory that only those documents should be selected which are of use to the clientele of a particular library. While selecting the documents the present and potential requirements of the user must be kept in view. A school and public library avoid the selection of costly books which are not likely to be infrequent demand. For a children library, the book  should be illustrated, in bold type page and attractive fonts. The second law “Every book its reader” directs the selector to cater for the information needs of all users of the library. The subject or the language or the style of exposition of document is to be selected should be in accordance with the requirement of the users. This is possible only when the selector of the document know the user and their requirement. The third law of library science “Every reader his/her book” suggests that all efforts should made to put to use those documents of value which have been selected in anticipation of the needs of the user.

d. Mc Colvin Theory: L. R. Mc Colvin advanced his demand and supply theory of book selection in 1925.He states book in them are nothing. They have no more meaning than the white paper on which they are printed, until they are made serviceable by demand, the greater is the resultant and possible service. The term ‘supply’ refers to the availability of reading materials in all its aspects and verities. Demand on the other hand means expressed and unexpressed information needs of the users.


Conclusion: The collection development policy ensures active participation of the authorities, the users and the library staff in the activity of building a collection. It lays down collection goals of the library, and determines who has selection responsibility, and also the selection criteria, acquisition procedures including the process to handle the electronic resources. Thus collection development policy should be based on the aims and objectives of the library.

Selection policy should be sound and comprehensive to build up an adequate collection of resources and it also ensures judicious spending of money for building resources to meet the information needs of the users and bring consistency to the process of selection of resources. The role of a selection librarian is becoming increasingly complex due to exponential growth of resources, the number of formats, delivery options and charges. The decrease in purchasing power further aggravates the problem.

The success of the process of the acquisition of documents requires knowledge of publishers and book trade and envisages an understanding of the ordering procedures, practices and policies, and also of policies regarding gifts and exchanges. The acquisition librarian should have a bibliographical flair to be able to detect cases of duplication either at the indent stage or at the stage of placing orders. Sending orders is a work of great responsibility and the librarian should scrutinize the orders carefully to detect errors, if any. In the present day environment, the vendor has to be dynamic in discharging his responsibility. Besides, performing the traditional role of buying the books, periodical publications and other materials, he has also to carry out the task of shelf preparation, distribution of e-books and e-journals, document delivery, etc. With the introduction of Internet, it has become possible to provide electronic resources to users directly at their desktops. The communication between librarians and vendors, and the process of seeking answers to queries, or sending orders has become fast. It has accelerated the process of acquisition. Services to the users of the library have significantly improved due to these developments.

The discipline of collection development is instrumental in the advancement of the organization of information. The quality of the collection in tandem with service offered in any information institute or university depends on the proper selection and acquiring of the information sources. The pursuit of the collection development entails policies that guide its cardinal moments and garner procedures and necessary processing that assist the task of professional collection development Incharge and assist in decision-making. The information policies have to be refashioned to be in sync with the requirements of organization and facilitate information to all its members.

In case of local area, it has to be physically attached with computer by cable. In case of a remote place, the terminal will connect via telephone line or via communication satellite.

Reference Article:

  • Hossain, M. S. (2012). Collection development in central library, university of delhi and central library, jawaharlal nehru university: a survey. University.
  • Khan, A. M. (2009). Collection development, organization and services of central universities libraries in U P.

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