Ever wonder how books get into the library? It’s actually a fairly straight forward process. Librarians are trained to pick books for libraries. We are also trained to pick items that no longer belong in our collection.We call the whole process “collection development.” I have always liked to think of a library collection as a living thing. It needs care to thrive and it is constantly changing. New items are being added and old items are being removed on a consistent basis.
Librarians use different sources to decide what goes in the collection. There are several professional journals that publish reviews of all kinds of books, movies, and other media. We review these reviews and decide whether these items are right for our collections and our communities. We also use our own local knowledge of what our community wants. We take suggestions from our patrons. If someone wants a book, we will do our best to accommodate the request. If an item fits our collection and its within our budget, we might buy it. We try to maintain a fair and balanced collection that covers many viewpoints and opinions.
We use several criteria to determine what we items might be candidates for removal from the collection. If an item has not been checked out for a number of years, it is a prime candidate for removal. We also remove items that are dated. For example, we want to make sure that books on medicine and health are as up to date as possible due to the constant changes in those fields. If items are worn or damaged beyond repair, we would also remove them from the collection.
Managing the items we have is an ongoing and never ending process. Our goal is to have a vibrant, current collection of items that meet the needs of our users. We are always working to achieve that goal.