These days you can get a fully automated analysis of your collection with a buying list to fill in the holes and purchase replacements for titles that should be weeded. But it is not the same as that personal look. Only you know about all the pieces and parts. Only you know how all the formats come together to create your collection.
You have to walk the shelves. Digitally and literally. You have to take a broad look over the whole collection. This is why it is good to shelve materials at the end of school. So you can get a gut feeling about what is there and what is not. Take notes as you go.
• What’s already available? What’s there to which you already provide access?
• What’s needed by your teachers to support the curriculum? What’s needed by your students to provide their window to the world?
• What’s wanted, rather than needed, because it’s popular? What’s wanted, rather than needed, just because it’s fun?
• What’s missing to provide students with a view of others like them? What’s missing to provide balance? What’s missing to move forward in technology?
You have to walk the shelves to complete the truest picture of your school library collection.
Author: Karen Perry
Former school library media specialist. Reviewer. Online instructor for Old Dominion University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the school library program.