Graduates of the SLIM Master of Library science degree program will be able to:
Explain and implement the development, maintenance, and management of collections and resources to meet specific information needs.
Librarians must be able to justify the acquisition of the resources and materials in their collection. Therefore, a collection development policy that includes detailed information about selection criteria, collection maintenance, resource sharing, emerging formats, donations, and intellectual freedom is a vital document that the library must provide to the public. For LI855: Collection Development and Management, I was required to analyze two existing collection development policies and to make recommendations for either improvement or how to handle a collections budget cut.
For the Collection Management Policy Analysis assignment, I analyzed the collection development policy of a local public library that has a main building and a smaller branch building. I analyzed the policy by defining the characteristics of its collection management policy, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the policy, discussing the challenges to implementation of the policy, and providing recommendations for the policy. Ultimately, I discovered that the policy fulfilled its role in and mission to the community. Most of the policy is comprehensive, but I saw two main areas that need to be fleshed out: updates to the selection and acquisition of electronic resources and personalization of the intellectual freedom section. My new knowledge of the library’s collection that I gained from reading the collection development policy supported what I have experienced first-hand countless times before when I visited the actual building: the local public library’s collection serves its community well.
For the Collection Assessment assignment, I evaluated an out-of-state library’s catalog, website, community information, and collection development policy with a partner in order to propose an action plan that recommended specific steps for how the library should handle a permanent 15% collections budget cut. After examining the areas mentioned above, I decided that the 15% cut could be managed by weeding the collection every five years instead of four, reducing the print materials and other materials budget by increasing inter-library loans with the state library network, reducing the children’s and young adult collection by partnering with the local school district, and writing grants and generating revenue from online book sales.
Both the policy analysis and collection assessment assignments provided an opportunity for me to work closely with documents that are essential to the library staff and to the public. The Collection Management Policy assignment gave me a framework for identifying strengths and weaknesses in a policy, knowledge that I can use in the future when helping to develop my own library’s collection development policy. The Collection Assessment assignment helped me to face the reality of dealing with dwindling budgets. I had to make cuts but still maintain the integrity of the library’s collection and ensure that it still met the recreational, educational, and informational needs of its community.