A library collection is reflective of the community in which it sits and the purpose for which it serves. Furthermore, it is an every evolving entity and has a life cycle which never ends (Hibner & Kelly, 2013, p.22). My experience with libraries as a classroom teacher has taught me that a library collection serves a broad range of groups and purposes, and as such, must contain a balance of resources, be they digital or analogue.
Despite spending many, many hours of my life in libraries, I am yet to work in one, so I was interested to do some further reading this week about developing collections. From my readings this week, I was surprised to learn that there is no one way to develop and manage a collection, but rather a variety of strategies that different libraries employ in order to best meet the diverse needs of the library community. In her book, Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management, Peggy Johnson (2009, p. 108) says:
Selection is both an art and a science.
Johnson (2009, p. 108) talks about the selection process being one which draws not only from knowledge and experience, but also intuition. She also says that the mastery of collection management is developed by the repeated and frequent practice of collection building. This idea challenged my thinking as I had, presumably incorrectly, assumed the the collection of books must follow and adhere to a specific policy. I had also assumed that when a collection policy was written, that’s how it would stay. However, Hibner and Kelly (2013, p. 24) suggest that just like the collection, the collection management policy must also be regularly updated in order for it to be of use. Initially, I wondered what they purpose of a collection policy would be if it was going to constantly change, however upon reflection, I came to understand that as budgets and resources change regularly, so too must the collection policy if it is going to remain current.
As another week passes, I am reminded of just how little I know and how much more I need to learn about the complexities of collection management and maintenance.
Hibner, Holly, and Mary Kelly. Making a Collection Count : A Holistic Approach to Library Collection Management, Elsevier Science & Technology, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/detail.action?docID=1575569.
Johnson, P. (2009). Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management (Vol. 2nd ed). Chicago: ALA Editions. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=267756&site=ehost-live