A collection development policy is a written statement of selection principles and criteria, with guidelines on the depth of subject coverage, and details such as language, geography, and time period.
G. Edward Evans “A collection development policy is the written statement to the plan, providing details for the guidance of the library staff. Thus a policy statement is a document representing a plan for action and information that is used to guide the staff’s thinking and decision making; specially, the policy is consulted when considering in which subject areas to acquire material and deciding how much emphasis each area should receive.”
Richard K. Gardner ” A collection development policy is a written statement that is both planning tool ans a communication device. It should serve as a day-to-day working tool that provides that necessary guidelines for carrying out the majority of tasks within the area of collection building.”
Importance of Collection Development Policy for Library:
Guidance for selection: A collection development policy provides guidance and direction for selecting materials to add to a library’s collection. It outlines the criteria for selecting materials that meet the library’s mission, goals, and the needs of its users.
Consistency: A collection development policy ensures consistency in the selection process. It helps to ensure that all materials are evaluated according to the same criteria and that the collection is well-balanced and diverse.
Budget management: A collection development policy helps to manage the library’s budget effectively. It ensures that acquisitions are made strategically, with consideration for the library’s budget constraints.
Resource allocation: A collection development policy helps to allocate resources more effectively. It ensures that resources are allocated to materials that align with the library’s mission and goals and that meet the needs of its users.
- Communication: A collection development policy communicates the library’s collection development goals, principles, and guidelines to staff, users, and stakeholders. This transparency helps to build trust and confidence in the library’s collections and selection process.
- Evaluation: A collection development policy facilitates ongoing library collections evaluation. It provides a framework for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the collection, identifying gaps, and making necessary adjustments.
- A collection development policy forces the library staff and the governing body to think through the goals of the library.
- It helps to assure that the library will seriously commit itself to serve all parts of the community.
- It informs users, administrators, governing bodies, and other libraries in the area of the scope and nature of the collection.
- It helps to minimize personal bias on the part of the individual selectors.
- It serves as an excellent in-service training tool for new staff members.
Functions of Library Collection Development Policy
The Library Collection Development Policy (CDP) guides librarians in selecting and acquiring materials for the library’s collections. It works as a guide to library resources for faculty, students, other users, and other libraries by describing the scope and nature of the collections. As an indication of collection strengths and weaknesses, they can be helpful in resource sharing and cooperative acquisitions. The primary functions of the CDP are as follows:
Establishes priorities: The CDP helps librarians develop priorities for acquiring materials based on the library’s mission, goals, and objectives.
Ensures consistency: The CDP ensures consistency in selecting and acquiring materials by providing guidelines and criteria for evaluating and acquiring materials.
Allocates resources efficiently: The CDP helps librarians to allocate resources efficiently by prioritizing materials that align with the library’s mission and goals and by avoiding unnecessary duplication of resources.
Facilitates collaboration: The CDP promotes collaboration between librarians, faculty members, students, and other stakeholders in identifying and acquiring materials that meet their needs.
Guided decision-making: The CDP serves as a guide for decision-making in collection development, helping librarians to make informed decisions based on the library’s mission, goals, and objectives.
Demonstrates accountability: The CDP provides a framework for evaluating the collection and its relevance to the library’s users, demonstrating accountability to its stakeholders.
Enhances user satisfaction: The CDP helps to ensure that the library’s collections meet the needs and expectations of its users and that the resources acquired are relevant, up-to-date, and of high quality.
Supports outreach and programming: The CDP can support outreach and programming efforts by helping librarians to identify materials that will support the library’s programming goals and serve the needs of the library’s users.
- It informs everyone about the nature and scope of that library’s collection.
- It informs everyone of collecting priorities.
- It forces thinking about organizational goals to be met by the collection.
- It generates some degree of commitment to meet organizational goals.
- It sets standards for inclusion and exclusion.
- It reduces the influence of a single selector and personal biases.
- It provides training/orientation for new staff.
- It helps to ensure consistency over time and despite staff turnover.
- It guides staff in handling complaints.
- It aids in weeding and evaluating the collection.
- It aids in rationalizing budget allocations.
- It provides a public relations document.
- It provides a means of assessing the overall performance of the collection development program.
- It provides outsiders with information about the purpose of collection development.
Steps of Library Collection Development Policy
The steps involved in developing a library collection development_policy (CDP) include the following:
- Define the purpose and scope: The library should define the purpose and scope of the CDP, outlining the goals, objectives, and principles that will guide the selection, acquisition, and deselection of materials.
- Identify the target audience: The library should identify the target audience for the CDP, including the library staff, faculty, students, and other stakeholders.
- Conduct a needs assessment: The library should conduct a needs assessment to identify its users’ information needs and determine the types of materials that should be included in the collection.
- Establish selection criteria: The library should establish selection criteria based on the library’s mission, goals, and objectives. The criteria should consider factors such as the materials’ quality, relevance, and authority.
- Establish acquisition procedures: The library should establish acquisition procedures, including the methods for acquiring materials, the sources of funding, and the procedures for tracking and evaluating the materials obtained.
- Establish weeding procedures: The library should establish weeding procedures to remove outdated, damaged or irrelevant materials from the collection.
- Develop a collection development plan: The library should develop a collection development plan that outlines the goals, objectives, and strategies for building and maintaining the collection.
- Evaluate and revise the policy: The library should regularly evaluate and revise the CDP to ensure that it remains relevant and effective in meeting the information needs of its users.
By following these steps, a library can develop a comprehensive Collection Development Policy that will guide its collection development activities and ensure that the collection remains relevant and effective in meeting the needs of its users.