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Collection Evaluation

Today's movement towards accountability makes it more important than ever for librarians to continuously evaluate collections.  At the least, it is vital to understand a collection based on:

bulletMaterials included
bulletHow materials are used
bulletValue of collection
bulletCollection strengths
bulletAreas for improvement
bulletDirection of change
bulletChallenges in collection policies

Understanding these areas allows more meaningful budget allocations based on:

bulletStrengthening identified weaknesses
bulletMaintaining strengths
bulletOverall collection needs

Of course, these decisions cannot be made without looking at institutional needs and other stakeholders such as accrediting or funding agencies.  In terms of schools, collection evaluations must also consider:

  1. Does the collection support and enhance specific courses and units of instruction taught in the school?
  2. For any unit is there:
  3. bulleta variety of media?
    bulletmaterials that are current?
    bulletenough materials for the number of users?
    bulletmaterials that span reading, viewing, listening, and comprehension levels?
    bulletmaterials that span the opinion / cultural / political spectrum, if required?
    bulletmaterials of interest to students?
  4. What should we provide access to versus acquiring for the collection? How fast must materials be available to users?

Evaluation techniques can be considered either use-centered or collection centered.

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Collection Evaluation
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