Little Green Librarian

Blogging my way through a Masters in Teacher Librarianship at CSU!

Selection Criteria


Image of a person's hand selecting from multiple options

As teacher librarians, one of our roles is to select resources for our libraries in general, as well as for specific curriculum situations. The criteria we use to select these resources will vary from context to context, but here is my take on selection at this moment in time. I’m sure my criteria will continue to evolve as my understanding and experience increase, as well as changing as new technologies and types of resources are developed, but we’ve all got to start somewhere!

Broad Selection Criteria

The selection criteria below reflect the philosophical principles that can be used to select materials.

Resources selected will:

  • Meet the learning and teaching needs of the school
  • Be engaging to assist users in connecting with the content
  • Be suitable for the age and maturity level of users
  • Represent a range of views, where applicable

General Selection Criteria

The selection criteria below apply to resources in all formats. Please note that not all resources selected necessarily need to fit the criteria below perfectly. If the value of a resource is determined to outweigh any negatives, the resource should been included.

The following criteria will be considered prior to acquisition of a resource:

  • Reliability
    • Is the resource from a reputable, authoritative source? (i.e. Is the author an expert? Has the author been commissioned to write the resource by a reputable group? Is the resource referenced? Is the resource endorsed by an authoritative person or group?)
    • Is the information current and accurate?
    • Does the resource present factual information in as unbiased a manner as possible? Are all key points included? Are biases acknowledged?
  • Scope
    • Does the resource cover the subject in entirety or will supplementary resources be required?
    • Is the level of detail appropriate for the students?
  • Format and quality
    • Is the resource sturdy and durable? (applies primarily to physical resources)
    • Is the format of this resource the best possible for its content?
    • Is the resource presented in an appealing/engaging way?
  • Flow and organisation of the resource
    • Is the resource logically/reasonably organised?
    • Can a student navigate through the resource easily?
    • Can information be found easily? (applies primarily to non-fiction resources)
  • Cost and availability
    • Is the resource currently available?
    • Can the resource be procured for a reasonable/competitive price?
    • Does the resource have a wide enough application/appeal to represent value for money?

 Specific Selection Criteria

The selection criteria below apply specifically to particular aspects of the collection or formats.


The following guidelines apply for selecting stand-alone fiction:

  • Titles should at the very least be well-written and at best be of literary merit as much as possible

Fiction Series

The following guidelines apply for selecting fiction from a series:

  • Short series (defined here as two to five titles) should be purchased in full if possible, providing the series is of literary merit
  • Longer series (defined here as six or more titles) – only up to the first five titles in the series should be purchased, unless the series is of high literary merit (e.g. the Harry Potter series or the Chronicles of Narnia series)
  • For popular titles, two copies of the first book in the series should be acquired if possible to meet demand

Digital Resources (defined here as web-based resources and computer software)

The following criteria will be considered prior to acquisition of a resource:

  • Intuitive navigation
  • Educational value (i.e. What does this resource add to the content or outcome/s being taught?)
  • Compatibility with school devices
  • Copyright compliance
  • Flexible lending rights
  • Accessibility (both location-specific access and access for students with a disability)
  • Availability of a site license
  • Proxy log-in is preferable for web-based resources (rather than students having to create their own account)
  • The ability to archive a copy/keep a back-up is preferable
  • Privacy considerations
  • Advertisements should be minimal and, if present, appropriate for students in web-based resources

Apps (defined here as applications for mobile devices)

The following criteria will be considered prior to acquisition of a resource:

  • All of the criteria for digital resources applies to apps
  • Ease of management within the school
  • Cost (can the school purchase the apps or will students have to purchase their own?)
  • Availability across multiple platforms/devices is preferable


Association for Library Service to Children. (1997) Great Web Sites for Kids Selection Criteria [website]. Retrieved April 5, 2014 from

Feighan, D. (2012) eBook Selection Criteria [blog post]. Retrieved April 5, 2014 from

Hughes-Hassell, S. & Mancall, J. (2005). Collection Management for Youth : Responding to the needs of learners [EBL Reader version]. pp.46-47. Retrieved from

South Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services. (2004). Choosing and using teaching and learning materials.  p.10. Retrieved April 5, 2014 from


Image source:  Selection by geralt. Public Domain.

2 Comments to

“Selection Criteria”

  1. April 16th, 2016 at 9:04 am      Reply Danielle Abbott Says:

    Thank you so much for this website, its the first one that came up when I searched for a definition of Broad selection criteria and libraries. I am currently working my way through the same Masters degree at Charles Sturt but I am only in my first trimester.
    I will have to visit your site again to get an idea of what mine can look like. I glad I found it, you’ve done a really great job.

    • April 24th, 2016 at 3:17 am      Reply LittleGreen Says:

      Thanks Danielle, that’s very kind of you to say! Best of luck with your studies – I’m in my final year of it. Kelly.

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