Library Science

Selection Process of Library Resources

Alok Kumar Pathak (2017)

To fulfill the intellectual needs of the users, education acts as the active instrument of a library. It should possess available recent resources as well as latest reference & bibliographical tools. The important function of the library is the collection, storage & dissemination of information of which collection plays a major role. Books are the main resources of the library without which no services can be provided to the users. In fact, books are the basic materials with which the reader is to be fed. The books have a pivotal position in the world of libraries.

Book selection requires the utmost care, skill, aptness, and judgments. Librarian should verify, examine and evaluate most of the books purchase earlier. Depending upon the nature and size of the library, the librarian must frame a sound and workable policy for book selection. A written book selection policy exhibits technique of how the library materials are to be selected. Every University libraries should have a fixed book selection policy. Library resources

Selection policy is the good method of building, well balanced, useful and up to date collection and an active process to expedite the qualitative acquisition plan and to design a planned dynamic stock which attracts the readers towards the library.

Book selection policy is a joint responsibility of the faculties of the Universities and the library staffs. Every faculty member should participate in the book selection process in the area of their particular expertise.

1. Guidelines to be Adopted in Library Material Selections:

The important & weight of different criteria changes according to different types of library materials. Guidelines play an important role in collection development. Some important guidelines are given below:

• The need of the users must be satisfied with the selected books;

• Books which will satisfy the maximum number of readers should be selected;

• Latest book selection tools as well as bibliographies; publisher’s catalogues should be consulted to select the best books;

• Cheap, unnecessary book should not be purchased;

• While selecting reference books, attention must be paid to the name of the contributors and bibliography attached in the article;

• Latest edition of reference books should be selected;

• Author should be popular;

• Publishers of the books must be reputed;

• Artistic merit of literature;

• Books should be selected on the basis of local interest;

• Selected books should have the ability to fill the subject gap in the collection development;

• Easy access to nonprint materials;

• Up-to-date maps and atlases must be selected;

• Provision for online access to digital resources;

• Compatibility of digital resources with the libraries information technology infrastructure;

• Book selection policy should give direction to which materials are to be weeded and preserve.

If the above guidelines are followed at the time of the book selection the readers or users community will be fully satisfied.

2. Criteria of Library Material/Resource Selection:

The selection of library materials is done on the basis of informational, educational, cultural and recreational value. These materials are selected in agreement with the goal and mission of the library. The following general criteria’s are used in selecting a document for the development of the collection.

• Document should be popular interest

• Document should have permanent value

• Currency of information

• Local demand

• Readability

• Accuracy

• Author, Publisher & producer reputation

• Ease use & format

• Cost and availability

• Relationship to existing collection materials

• Significance of the subject matter

• Popular demand

• Cost budgetary constrains

• Critical assessments in a variety of journals

• Importance and value to the collection and library users.

In addition to the above criteria, the librarian must consider,

• Recommendation of the various heads of the departments;

• Readers suggestion;

• Suggestion of the library staff.

Book selection is an important technique for the maintenance of book stock in the library. Overall user’s views should be taken for purchase of the books and experience of librarian also plays a major role in book selection. Successful librarian on the basis of their rich and long experience has formulated some principles of book selection. The oldest principle has been formulated by Dewey (1876).

Principle of Dewey suggests “Best books for the largest number at the least cost” (Mannan Khan, 2013). This principle was formulated by Dewey keeping in mind the principle of economy and the condition of libraries at that time. While Drury clearly stated certain basic principles to govern the selection and reusing of materials for a library. It states “To Provide the right book to the right reader at the right time” (Mannan Khan, 2013). Here the reader is the central theme and veracity of document is in relation to the reader and the material/document should be available to the reader.

McColvin stated that books in themselves are noting until they are made serviceable by demand. Hence the book selection by this principle is directly related to demand, the greater is the resultant and possible services (Mannan Khan, 2013).

According to Ranganathan (1952), book selection work should be done in such a way that the Five Laws of Library Science are satisfied. The Five Laws are as follows.

• Books are for use

• Every reader his/her book

• Every book its reader

• Save the time of the reader

• Library is a growing organism

The first three laws are concerned with the reader book relation; forth law with time and fifth law with the development of the library.

3. Tools for Library Material Selection:

A library cannot fulfill its aims and objectives unless it is supplied with the latest reading material. It means the librarian must know the latest reading material published in various branches of knowledge. An acquisition section in charge without latest bibliographical tools at his desk is just like a soldier on the battlefield without the gun. In University libraries for successful acquisition programme, the following tools are widely used.

• Printed catalogues of University libraries.

• Union catalogues.

• National bibliographies.

• Subject Bibliographies.

• Books in print and similar publication.

• List of periodicals.

• List of reference works.

• Publication lists of Universities, research institutions.

• Lists of current issues of journals.

• List prepared by government departments and professional organizations.

• Booksellers and publisher catalogue and trade lists.

• Suggested reading lists of syllabus of various courses.

• Lists of theses and dissertations.

• Lists of audio and visual materials available in the market.

• Catalogues of CD-ROM database and online databases.

This list is not exhaustive, just an outline for reaching the materials. Collection development in the library is a cooperative and collective effort of persons with the mission to develop the collection. The computer system should be installed with network facilities for access to CD-ROM database and online searching as well as utilization of electronic resources.

Today we are living in the era of literature explosion. Literature is growing now a day in various languages and disciplines. A huge number of resources are available from which the librarian has to select the resources within their financial limitation.

Books can be selected in a proper way if we know the relevant sources for selection. It includes: book reviews, readers’ suggestion, and bibliographies.

a. Book reviews:- Book reviews” means review or criticism found in periodical usually on new books. It is an important source of book selection. Book review is published with several names: book reviews, new thought, new Publication, see your book, current books, your books of the week etc. The information provided in the book review should be brief specific and complete. Review should be done only by the scholars in the given field. So, that proper book selection process can be done.

b. Reader’s suggestion: It is the main source of book selection. Sometimes suggestion becomes very valuable in the book selection process. Proper feedback should be taken from the users of the library so that the most demanding book can be purchased. A suggestion register should be maintained by the library for this purpose. Libraries should keep a suggestion box preferably near the entrance of the libraries.

Bibliographies are also the important sources of book selection. It includes Subject bibliographies, author bibliography, selective bibliography, bibliography of bibliographies and national bibliography.

c. Subject bibliographies: It is usually a list of books article and other reading material on a given subject. It helps in selecting a book for particular subject.

d. Author bibliography: Author bibliography is a list of books written by a particular author. It also helps in selecting books of a particular author.

e. Selective bibliography: It is a list of best book on a subject or a group of subjects. An average library uses this method for selecting book in the library.

f. Bibliography of bibliographies: It is a list of bibliographies. It helps in selecting bibliographies for a library which is an important tool of book selection.

g. National bibliography: It is a list of books published in the country in different languages which are mostly published in the printed form. It is a complete record of printed output in a given country without any limitation.

h. Reading list: It is a list of most favored books on the particular subject.

i. Prospectus: It is useful in book selection. Universities and other examination centers publish the prospectus. It gives a list of book for every subject for every examination.

j. Year book: It is a list of books published in the particular year arranged according to subject or particular language.

k. Library Catalogue: Catalogue is published in bigger libraries. It also helps in book selection.

Original Research Article:

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


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