Build A Choice Collection

Collection Selection

Selection is only one step in the entire collection development process. It is essential that the teacher-librarian consider input from the other stages prior to selection. For example, the needs assessment may have identified a deficiency of materials in the areas of poetry or robotics, but the teacher-librarian needs to determine whether new items actually need to be purchased.
    • How do I know if materials are good or not?
    • Do I have to read every book and watch every video?
    • Which are the best professional review sources?
    • Should I choose hardback, paperback, or digital books?

Teacher-librarians must be aware of curricular outcomes and the identified core learning resources in order to make adjustments to the collection. The Ministry of Education’s Core Learning Resource documents should be the foundation of collection purchasing. Collection development is also tied to teachers’ requests, student interests, and school and division goals.

Materials Review

Rather than perusing review sources and absently purchasing the "starred" items, the selection process involves a number of steps. Prior to purchasing materials, conduct a materials review.
    • Conduct a collection mapping.
        • What existing materials are available in the physical and virtual collection?
        • What are the format, quality, and quantity of the existing materials?
    • Identify weak areas or areas of need in the identified curricular area.
        • What are the outcomes?
    • Refer to the selection policy and procedures.
    • Explore online and print review sources.
    • Meet with teachers in order to identify instructional needs.
        • Will teaching and learning of the topic/concept focus on fiction, nonfiction, or non-print materials?
        • Will it be an interdisciplinary focus?
    • Recommend materials to be purchased.
    • Justify the purchase of materials by referring to the budget process.
    • Share and promote materials with teachers.
        • Ask for suggestions for the materials’ use in the classroom.

Selection Criteria

Bibliographic Aids

Consideration File

A consideration file contains items that are judged worthy for future purchase and helps reduce impulsive purchases. The file can take many forms: a word processing document, database, or electronic spreadsheet. Create different categories such as: immediate purchases, when possible, wish list, replacement items, and duplicate copies needed. Also consider delineation of items needed for curricula implementation versus materials for leisure reading. Teachers and students should be involved in this process. Provide methods for having their resource interests documented. Data can be collected using free online tools:

Challenges and Issues in Collection Development
The teacher-librarian must be prepared to address many controversial issues. School libraries are influenced by many laws and regulations. The decisions must adhere to policies and procedures rather than personal perspectives.

Personal Perspectives and Philosophies
Self-knowledge is critical to effective collection development. Teacher-librarians must be metacognitive of their bias as values influence purchasing decisions on controversial issues.
Potential Areas Of Bias That Impact Selection Choices:
  • Personal Preferences
  • Political Interests (Such As Views On The Environment, War, Or Democracy)
  • Religious Beliefs
  • Subject Area Strengths
  • Educational Philosophy
  • Fear Of Challenge To Material
To examine differing perspectives and philosophies to book selection, take ALA's censorship quiz

Intellectual Freedom
Intellectual freedom is related to the right to unrestricted access to all information and ideas regardless of the medium of communication. The teacher-librarian must balance the needs of the curriculum and mission of the school with the importance of intellectual freedom.

Selection is liberty of thought; censorship is control of thought” (Asheim, 1953). Rejection of an informational material by a library authority which the teacher-librarian, the school board, or some person bringing pressure on them holds to be objectionable is called censorship. Censorship involves control as it involves one person or a group of people making the decision for others about what should or should not be available. The choice not to make a purchase restricts students’ access to information. Decisions must be made on the basis of a selection policy, not personal preferences.

Challenged and Banned Books
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

Complaints usually stem from the item viewed as sexually explicit, containing offensive language, immoral, expressing radically social, religious, or political views , explicitly violent, voicing racial issues, or unsuitable to the intended age group.

To avoid heated conflicts related to censorship, teacher-librarians should:

Objection Process
Formally challenged material involves a reconsideration or objection process. Objections should be accepted in writing only, on a standard reconsideration form completed by the complainant. A reconsideration committee will determine whether the material is appropriate for its designated audience. This committee has the following options:
  • Take No Removal Action
  • Remove All Or Part Of The Challenged Material
  • Allow Alternative Materials
  • Limit Use Of MaterialsIn some cases, the recommendation of the committee is final. In other cases, the committee's findings can be appealed to the school division.

Intellectual Property & Copyright
The teacher-librarian must model and support legal and ethical practices related to copyright and other issues of intellectual property. Teacher-librarians are uniquely situated to educate students and teachers on fair use. //The Digital Citizenship and Creative Content curriculum// provides activities to foster responsible digital citizens.

Copyright is granted to the creators of works to protect their interest in the work and to encourage people to take risks and disseminate information. The copyright law is intended to protect against unauthorized printing, publishing, importing, or selling of multiple copies of a work. A fair dealing law was developed to provide guidelines in the use of copyrighted materials.
Access Copyright provides copyright to give content users immediate, legal access to the copyright protected materials they need to copy, while ensuring that creators and publishers are fairly compensated when their works are copied. Michael Geist is a Canadian expert on intellectual property law issues.

Creative Commons provides legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof. Creative Commons provides information about licensing and opening up educational resources so that they are not only accessible, but adaptable, interoperable, and discoverable. Copyright-friendly and copyleft images and sound for use in media projects situated on or off the Web are listed on Joyce Valenza’s wiki.

Fair Dealing
Fair dealing is intended to balance the interest of the copyright owners with the needs of the users. There are four requirements that must be passed to meet the law:
  • The Purpose And Character Of Use
  • The Nature Of The Work
  • The Amount, Substantiality Or Portion
  • The Potential Market

Collection Development