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Collection Development Handbook: Selecting Books

Deciding what to order

Collection Development Policies -- Selections should fit the criteria described in the policy; if you find that a number of desired titles don't fit the policy, this may indicate that the policy needs to be changed!

Faculty requests--A certain amount of the budget can be reserved for faculty selections if your faculty in that particular department are in the habit of making requests. If they are not, then it is your responsibility to spend the money wisely.

Collection assessments--To the extent that your funds permit, you should order materials to fill needs discovered during assessment, including incomplete sets, current trends, classic works, etc.

Library Resource Analyses--It's important to discuss with course faculty what will be needed.  Be prepared to make some recommendations; don't leave everything up to the faculty member!

Major publishers

Becoming familiar with the most important publishers in your subject area will help you to select quality books quickly.

As you order books, most likely you will begin to notice publishers that show up frequently.  You can also find subject lists in Literary Market Place  (REF PN161.L5) .

Yankee Book Peddler offers an online subject guide to publishers that is quite useful.

Book selection links

RCL Books

RCL (Resources for College Libraries) books are the books identified by Choice as "Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT)."  If you order one of these books, please write RCL on the order so that the Cataloguing Department will know to mark them. 

During processing, OAT books are stamped on the top of the pages with the accronym RCL.  This is done so that you can easily spot them during deselection and collection assessment.

Deselection of RCL titles

Some books stamped RCL may become outdated and will then need to be deselected just like any other book. If there is a newer edition, you may want to buy it as a replacement for the older one.  Newer editons may or may not have the OAT designation. Please do not indicate on your order that it is a RCL title unless the editioon you are ordering actually has been chosen as an OAT.

Award Winners

One way to build quality collections is to buy award-winning titles or works by award-winning authors, when the books are appropriate for our collection.

Liaisons' lists of awards by subject area  {link here}

Lost & Missing Reports

Each year Tech Services provides us with a list of books that have been marked in the catalog as "lost" or "missing."

Check the titles in your subject areas.  Depending on need, you may want to do one of the following:

  • Try to replace the book
  • Select newer books on the same subject
  • Ignore it--maybe it's something that really doesn't fit into the collection anymore.

The "lost" and "missing" lists can also help you identify collection needs.  For example, if you see that several books on child development have been lost but all are more than 5 years old, that may be a hint to buy some up-to-date books on the subject!