On Collection Development

We spent a large portion of today running through our collection development policy, and the process left me with some thoughts worth exploring further.  Mainly I feel that such policies are problematic in that they need to serve two diametrically opposed issue.  On one side they exist to guide the selection of materials, for which they benefit from being broadly worded.  On the other they need to define grounds on which items can be rejected (no we really don’t want your vanity press published masterpiece on 100 ways in which you are awesome).

The document that results from these two viewpoints is something that bothers me a great deal, in short (and cynical) terms the library only collects good things.  In principal, that’s great, but in practice it can knock out romances, blockbuster films, anything with vampires in it (particularly sparkly ones), and most of the bestseller list.  It also makes out the library as the arbiter of good taste, which is frankly horrible.  A library ought to reflect its community, not dictate what that community ought to be.

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2 Comments on “On Collection Development”

  1. wolfshowl Says:

    That’d be an interesting collection development policy. “Our policy is to reflect our community–no matter how awful their taste might be!” 😉

  2. geekylibrarian Says:

    I think I actually would advocate for that. Much better than “our collection will focus on lesser known works” (yes, ours says this in one section).


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