Here at the end of the traditional school year it is appropriate to look back and evaluate where you have been and where you want to go in developing your school library’s collection. This means examining your collection development plan.
Don’t have a plan? Then it’s time to create one. Collection development plans are created in a variety of ways and cover different lengths of time. There are many helpful guides to developing this planning tool. This page of links is from “Resources for School Librarians” maintained by Linda Bertland in Philadelphia, PA, and is current and comprehensive. It includes links to example plans and links to the SLJ average price of books study conducted annually. http://www.sldirectory.com/libsf/resf/coldev2.html#top
If you have a collection development plan, you may take this opportunity to work with your Media Advisory Committee to update it. Try to lead your committee to contribute useful ideas about their teaching practice and research plans. Come to the meeting with an outline of where you want to go and ask them to help you connect some of the dots. Make sure you are aware of usage statistics and how your students and teachers have used current resources.
Whether you choose the more fluid three-year approach or the visionary five-year planning document, once you commit goals to paper you have to live with them. So take these ideas into consideration:
1) There is never enough money to do it all, so don’t claim to be able to update your entire collection in one year. Set your plan up in stages to cover your collection in the time span you have chosen. This gives you a framework so that IF money starts growing on trees, you will not begin running around in circles like a chicken with its head cut off.
2) Acknowledge technology’s role in today’s school library. The collection development plan should cover all the materials and resources you “collect” for student and teacher use, digital and physical. As the depth of the Internet grows, more and more non-fiction resources will reside there. There will be more articles and e-books. You will need to include purchased databases from trusted sources, streaming recordings – both video and audio, and apps for mobile devices. It should also include those that are free as well as those for which you pay. Free items can add to your collection as great resources but they come at a cost of your time in managing them.
3) Look for balance. If you recognize and list all the areas in which you could add to the collection, it will be simpler to find a balance in spending money and time in the various areas. And you will be better able to relate the areas of your collection development plan to the academic goals for student achievement.
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.