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The teacher library will provide a wide range of information resources to meet the diverse needs of learners. The collection must be built collaboratively with classroom teachers to meet the needs of the curriculum.

Quality information and resources are the foundation of a quality library media program. The purpose of building a collection is to support the needs of students and teachers in addressing the curriculum. It is essential that all educators be involved in developing this collection. The teacher librarian must develop partnerships across grade levels and subject areas to ensure that the collection addresses the needs of the curriculum.

cover of BunniculaBrooke had a really neat book about a rabbit that's a vampire. It has a shaggy dog in it too. Can you find it for me?

I'm doing a unit on the the French Revolution. Could you collect everything you have and drop it off at my classroom sometime? I'd like books, websites, DVDs, and anything else we can find.

I've listened to all the Stephen King books-on-tape. Do you have any other good books-on-tape in the library?

Traditionally, school collections focused on items such as books, kits, and filmstrips. Today the library collection includes a vast array of materials including traditional materials as well as videos, CDs, hand-held devices, and electronic databases. In addition, your library reaches outside your walls to include communication with community members, collaboration with local agencies, and access to Internet resources.

Keep in mind that a request for materials is the first step toward building a collaborative relationship. Rather than simply providing the requested materials, seek ways to plan with teachers to develop information-rich, inquiry-based learning environments.

eye means readThis section of the course contains the following related topics you'll want to investigate:
Materials Review and Selection

Collection Maintenance & Weeding

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What is a collection?

A collection is a set of resources brought together for a particular audience or to serve a specific function. These learning resources may include all or some of the following items.

Local collection. These are materials that are physically located in the library media center. In addition to traditional items, materials may include portable devices such as Leapfrogs learning games and electronic keyboards. The following items are often found in a local collection:

Remote collection. Today your collection isn't restricted to items that you own. In other words, your collection may contain Internet resources, links to electronic subscription services, and connections with public libraries. Items from other buildings in your district, classroom libraries, and district class sets may be accessible through your network.

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What's the purpose of the collection?

The purpose of the collection is to support learning. As such, the materials selected for inclusion must support the curriculum. This means that all decisions should be based on sound data regarding the reading level, developmental level, interests, and needs of students. A collaborative planning process is essential in determining those materials that will best impact student achievement.

The collection is used to assist inquiry including the transfer of information and the development of knowledge. Information is an arranged set of patterns that when linked in meaningful ways become knowledge.

Some people would argue that a collection also includes all the tools needed to access information including hardware and technical assistance. Collection are constantly undergoing change and should be seen within the larger context of the community and society.

What's are inside influences?

Your collection must satisfy all these needs and more. Your clients include students, teachers, administrators, parents, staff, members of community, and anyone else connected with the learning community. The primary purpose of a school library media center collection is to provide access to information. This access is provided by serving your patrons.

Like all services, you're interested in meeting the demands of your clients and increasing patron satisfaction. Your services include a range of activities such as locating leisure reading materials, helping students explore nonfiction resources, providing access to digital materials, and assisting teachers in resource-based curriculum development projects. Keep in mind that your mission is to serve all your clients, not just the ones who pester you all the time.

It's easy to concentrate on the "squeaky wheel" and forget the needs of your larger audience.

According to Van Orden (1988, 5), "the media program should be based on a well-defined plan of policies and procedures to make it's resources, facilities, services, and personnel an integral part of the school's program."

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What are outside influences?

Just as your library media center is part of the school's learning community, it is also part of a larger system that includes state/province, regional, national, and global concerns. For example, your state may have specific mandates that will impact your collection development policies and procedures. You may be required to have a certain number of books per pupil or spend a specific about of the district's operating budget on your collection.

inspire logoIn the state of Indiana, electronic database subscriptions are available through the state in a program called INSPIRE. If these were eliminated, they would have a huge impact on your collection.

Regional affiliations may also influence your collection development practice. Your school may belong to a regional accreditation group such as AdvancED (Encompasses the North Central Association) that provides collection guidelines.

Finally, your collection will also be influenced by what's going on in society. Censorship and Internet filtering policies are becoming an increasing concern.

eye means readRead Sanacore, Joseph (2006). Teacher-librarians, Teachers, and Children as Cobuilders of School Library Collections (Access requires login). Teacher Librarian; 33(5), 24-29. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Also consider revisiting the earlier assigned reading: Teacher Librarian as Collection Developer.

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What is collection development?

Collection development is a process that involves identifying the strengths and weaknesses in a collection and working toward the promotion of strengths and the correction of weaknesses.

Collection development is a cycle that involves a number of phases that are repeated over time including establishing an area of need through some formal or information community and collection analysis, examining the existing collection for materials, developing a selection policy containing specific criteria, and recommending a set of materials that would address the need.

What can collection developer do?

You should be able to:

What are situations require collection development?

Here are some situations where your collection development skills will be tested.

eye means readRead Doiron, Ray (2002). An Administrator's Guide to Collection Development (Access requires login). School Libraries in Canada; 21(4), 18-21. Retrieved from Education Full Text database.
Article outlines the role that collection development plays in the functioning of a contemporary school library, and more importantly in the success teachers and students will have in developing information literacy and in achieving current learning outcomes.

What are the phases of collection development?

The phases of collection development include:

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What is learning community analysis?

The first phase in collection development is exploring your learning community. You need to know the needs and interests of your clients including students, teachers, and community members.

Formal and informal resources and tools can be used to explore the needs of your community.

Also keep in mind the importance of developing collaborative relationships in collection development. Students and teachers may be involved in all aspects of the process.

eye means readTo learn more, explore the selection of this course called Analysis (Previously assigned).

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What is collection analysis?

A teacher librarian must know be familiar with the entire collection. New media specialists are encouraged to do this systematically. In other words, choose selections to explore in-depth. At the same time, you need a way to get the "big picture" of the collection. Automated library systems have made this much easier.

You need to gather information that will be helpful in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the collection. In doing this, you determine where you are now and project where you'd like to be. This will help you set goals and identify projects.

eye means readTo learn more, explore the selection of this course called Collection Mapping (Previously assigned).

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What is material review and selection?

Libraries should have a standard set of policies, procedures, and guidelines related to materials selection. You must establish a plan that can be followed in attaining the goals for your collection.

Selection is a decision making process that involves selecting among items, determining the worth of an item, or deciding on the timeliness or durability of an item. You must systematically judge the quality and value of an item and weight this information against funding and development priorities.

This process is not done in isolation, instead it's essential to develop partnerships. These collaborative teams explore the collection and make recommendations based on specific curriculum programming needs.

eye means readRead Rajput, Toby (Sept/Oct 2009). Questioning Your Collection. Knowledge Quest; 38(1), 62-69. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

To learn more, explore the section of this course called Materials Review and Selection.

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What is the budget process?

Budget planning, acquisition, accounting, and funding sources all play a role in the collection development process.

Budget planning involves examining available funding and developing a plan for using this money.

Acquisition is the process of obtaining materials for the collection. These materials may be purchased, donated, exchanged, or linked.

Accounting is important in tracking how money is spent.

Funding sources beyond the center budget may be needed to meet the demands of the curriculum.

eye means readLater in this course, you will explore the following related sections: Budget Management: Budget Planning, Acquisition, Accounting, and Funding Sources.

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What's involved with technical processing?

Technical processing is a process that includes descriptive cataloging, subject analysis, classification, and physical processing.

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How is the collection maintained?

Maintenance involves examining the materials in the collection to determine whether items should be repaired, replaced, or removed.

Deselecting materials is as important as selecting materials. Without constant weeding your collection will become overwhelming and users will have a difficult time locating quality resources.

eye means readTo learn more, explore the section of this course called Collection Maintenance & Weeding.

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What's the procedure for materials reconsideration?

Sometime in your career it's likely that you'll have a challenge to intellectual freedom. Regardless of whether the challenge is to a book, video, or website, the experience can be nerve racking. Keep in mind that it is the item that is being challenged, not you. As long as you have good policies and procedures in place, a reconsideration case it not something to fear.

eye means readTo learn more, explore the section of this course called Intellectual Freedom (Previously assigned reading).

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How is the collection evaluated?

Evaluation is the process of analyzing the collection for the purpose of increasing funding, gaining recognition, and checking quality.

eye means readTo learn more, explore the section of this course called Evaluation (Previously assigned).

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Collection Development Connections

The collection development process should be tied very closely with the other center functions. For instance, reference work is linked directly to collection development. You need to know what types of questions students and teachers ask in order to select materials to answer those questions. You also need to know student interests in order to purchase and suggest leisure reading materials.

Collection development is also tied to curriculum development. Should should be actively involved on curriculum committees. They need your knowledge of subject areas, the collection, reading and literature, and selection. You need to know what textbooks have been purchased and what resources they cite. You also need to know about and be involved with all changes to curriculum so you can make adjustments to the collection.

Collection development is also tied to teachers requests, collaborative teaching partnerships, and instructional development. You need to work closely with teachers to know what they want and need.

Lamb & Johnson's Collection Development Corollaries

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Check Your Understanding

info powerInformation Power - Information Access and Delivery: Principle 5. The collections of the library media program are developed and evaluated collaboratively to support the school's curriculum and to meet the diverse learning needs of students. (p. 83, 90)

Collaboration is an essential part of the curriculum development process. Discuss ways that you plan to systematically involve teacher in collection development.

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Make It Real

woman at computerWith recent federal mandates, there has been a renewed focus on reading. In particular, many school are placing emphasis on reading across the curriculum, particularly science and social studies. Local and state literacy funding is often available for this type of initiative.

Your job is to identify a particular area of need, analyze an existing collection, and make recommendations for purchase. Then, write a short report to the Literacy Across the Curriculum Foundation for funding. Or, if you want to write a report for a real agency consider Walmart or Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries.

Conduct a collection development project:

Criteria for evaluating collection development project:

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Read More About It

Collection Assessment from Idaho State University

Loertscher, David; Woolls, Blanche; & Felker, Janice. Building a School Library Collection Plan: A Beginning Handbook with Internet Assist. 2000.
Information on how to create a nonfiction and reference collection plan. Many links to review sources and book award websites.

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