Library Collection Development Methods

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Library Collection Development Methods


Collection development is the systematic building of a library collection based on meaningful data rather than subjective choice. It is the process of assessing the strength and weakness in a collection and then creating a plan to correct the weakness and maintain the strength.

Collection development is defined as the planned purchase of material in various formats to match the instructional and research needs of the campus within the current fiscal environment and resource sharing opportunities. Collection is the heart of a library.

ALA (2013) defined “A term which encompasses a number of activities related to the development of the library collection including the determination and co-ordination of selection policy, assessment of potential user needs and collection use studies, collection evaluation, identification of collection needs, selection of material, planning for resource sharing, collection maintenance and weeding” (p.59 ). Library Collection

According to Encyclopaedia of Library and Information Science (1971), “Library collection is the sum total of library materials, book, manuscript, series, government documents, pamphlets, catalogues, reels, micro cards and microfiche, punch cards, computer tapes, etc. that make up the holding of particular library” (p.260).

Harrods Librarian glossary (2000) defines collection development as “the process of planning a stock acquisition programme not simply to cater for immediate needs but to build a coherent and reliable collection over a number of years, to meet the objectives of the services” (p.163).

Sanchez (2005) defines collection development as a process which assumes that the information needs of the users are satisfied in an economic fashion and under a reasonable period of time using resources which are much internal as external to organization.

Reitz (2007) defines collection development as the process of planning and acquiring a balance collection of library materials over a period of years, based on an ongoing assessment of the information needs of the library clientele, analysis of usage statistics and demographic projection (Kasalu & Ojiambo,2012, p.4).

There are many methods of collection development which are given below:

a. Purchase: Purchase forms the major means of acquiring documents in any library. Strictly speaking, purchasing must be restored to only when no others mean is open to the library. When the required item is not available through other means, then purchases against specific orders becomes the most usual practice for collection development in all the libraries.

b. Gifts or Donations: Gifts or donations are always welcomed in any library collection development. There are many cases where personal collections bequeathed to libraries have become the main stay of collection. Gifts are possible also in the case of individual title that are needed, particularly old and out of print books. Unprized publications that are distributed free of cost makes another important category in gifts.

c. Institutional membership: Institutional membership is another potential resource in collection development. The library may enlist itself as member of learned societies and institutions who published useful materials. Often the membership subscription may cover the right to receive their publication either free of cost or at concessional prices.

d. Deposit system: Deposit system entitles some specially designated libraries to receive free copies of the publications brought out by the government, national and international organisations etc. There are many University libraries and state central library’s enjoying these types of benefits.

e. Exchange: Exchange may be another possible means of collection development of the reading materials. In this case the recipient library or its parent body should have publication of its own to exchange with those of the other institutions. Exchange is also possible between two libraries with spare copies against items needed.

The following objectives are to be reached for fulfil the mission of collection development in the University libraries-

• To formulated good quality, relevant and balance collection that targets to strengthen teaching, support, research & learning by providing databases that are efficient discipline and non traditional.

• Providing a good leadership for team base activity in formulating Policies, planning, managing, Prioritizing, managing resources and in calculated balance collection that satisfy the new develop technologist that are convenient to all users.

• To be informed and responsive to curricular changes for new courses and programs as per the guide line of the University libraries.

• To increase the use of resource through co-operative arrangement with in the libraries at all level.

• Satisfying the needs of users as well as fulfilling the objectives for collection building of parent bodies.

• To provide extensive support for learning, teaching & research personals.

• To provide relevant information without redundancy.

• Review of collection periodically for weeding out.

• To support the core group of users by providing best and useful literature.

The parent institution aims and objectives are framing priorities of collection development. Collection development is a continuous process and it requires good attention of the policy makers. The following factors should be considered the librarian to build up a user friendly collection. These factors are-

The organization/ institution: To identify the organizational objectives that the library is supporting is an important factor. The library collection should be effective and meaningful to achieve the goal of the library as well as to support the activities of the parent institution. The faculties, the curriculum, extra-curricular programmes, the research programme, the teaching methods, courses, student enrolments and advent of technology have a direct impact on the collection development.

The user community: The most important factor in collection development is the user community for whom the collection is developed. In collection development top priority must be given to the requirement of the user community and their changing needs. University library should give top priority to the need of the students, faculty members, research scholars and supporting staff. Collection development policy and programs should be formulated and implemented on the basis of the needs and requirement of all the categories of users.

The existing collection: Existing collection is a relative term. The existing holding refers to the total collection of the library at a given point of time. The collection must be consistently and continuously developed from time to time so that the better the existing holding, more effective will be the future collection development planning. Collection evaluation is also an essential factor to be taken care of, to making a user oriented collection. Evaluation and assessment of all the materials in the holding periodically can be guideline for collection development. Resource sharing & weeding out procedure are also a basic factor to be considered for an effective collection development programme. It helps reduction of cost, better utilization of acquisition fund and wider access to library materials.

Human and financial resources: The human resources with proper professional training are an asset to develop a close contact between the readers and the collection with the aid of different library techniques. But the most important factor for collection development is the financial resources of the library i.e. the library grant. It should be increase keeping in mind of high prices of documents, rapid changes in foreign exchanges rates with high inflation.


Original Research Article:

  • Kumar, P. A. (2017). Impact of information technology on the collection development in university libraries of Assam: a study.

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