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The community will consistently have relevant, accurate, and current information to inform decision-making about areas important to their well-being and quality of life.
A public library assembles, organizes, presents, and makes easily and readily available a variety of print, non-print, and electronic materials and information. Collections need to be current, representative of all perspectives, dynamic and data-driven. Efforts are made to effectively present or “merchandise” the collection.
The collection must be continually updated to meet the changing needs and interests of the community. Materials are selected in anticipation of, as well as in response to, requests from library users. The library maintains a current collection of core reference materials. Decisions are based on budget, use, and turnover. Community members have a means by which they can participate in the selection of materials. Policies and procedures to effectively manage the collection shall be in place and shall reflect the library’s strategic plan and community needs.
Public library collections may include unique items that, when loaned through the library, make it economically feasible for community members to “try before they buy,” allowing sharing of resources at a community level. Some Colorado examples include maker spaces with equipment for idea exploration, creation, and experimentation; non-book/non-media, recreational material (e.g., bicycles, musical instruments, fishing poles, cake pans); educational equipment (telescopes, robots, microscopes); home tools (electricity use monitors, seeds, garden tools) and locally created content (e-books, music, audio stories, art).
Participation in regional and/or statewide resource sharing is encouraged. The library is a member of CLiC in order to participate in courier service, and benefit from discounts on library materials.
The quality of a library’s collection is measured by a variety of factors indicating use, currency, and appropriateness to the community. Data collected by IMLS provides information on what other libraries in Colorado, as well as other libraries nationally are reporting in terms of:
- materials’ expenditures per capita
- circulation per capita
- collection turnover
- Policies and procedures to effectively manage the collection are in place and reflect the library’s strategic plan and community needs. The Collection Management Plan includes policies and procedures for:
- Selection and deselection
- Procedures for handling requests for reconsideration of materials
- Procedures for handling gifts and donations
- Procedures for noncirculating items
- Review the collection management plan within each three-year period.
- Collect materials and provide access to information representing a wide variety of interests and viewpoints.
- Provide online media in various current formats, including physical and downloadable materials, as well as other nonprint materials, to meet the needs of the community.
- Provide materials in formats appropriate to the needs of special population groups.
- Evaluate items in the collection regularly for retention, replacement, or withdrawal according to the library’s collection management plan.
- Place orders at regular intervals throughout the year to ensure a steady flow of new materials for the public.
- Organize and display the collection to facilitate online and in-library browsing and retrieval.
- Ensure that library records comply with current cataloging standards to facilitate public access and resource sharing.
- Ensure all users have access to all materials, unless limited by library policy or other legal restriction, such as age.
- Provide a process for community members to participate in the selection of materials, including when they lend expertise to collection topics.
- Allocate funds for purchasing materials and expend them based on the Collection Management Plan and other plans directing library activities. To measure this, determine materials expenditures per capita.
- Ensure that the collection reflects the ethnic, cultural, and language diversity of the community.
- Track and report statistics on various formats for currency and relevancy based on statistics and data that reflect collections and circulation statistics per capita and turnover rates, as well as what is needed for annual reporting and planning.
- Maintain an appropriate collection size based on the library’s legal service area population (LSAP).
- Include unique items that, when loaned through the library, make it economically feasible for community members to “try before they buy,” allowing sharing of resources at a community level. Some Colorado examples include maker spaces with equipment for idea exploration, creation, and experimentation; non-book/non-media, recreational material (e.g., bicycles, musical instruments, fishing poles, cake pans); educational equipment (telescopes, robots, microscopes); home tools (electricity use monitors, seeds, garden tools), and locally created content (e-books, music, audio stories, art).
- Remove fines and fees on children’s material to encourage the dynamic use of collections by children. State Library research indicates that fines and fees are a barrier to low-income families’ use of the public library. Read Removing Barriers to Access:Eliminating Library Fines and Fees on Children’s Materials.
- Follow the best practices of the Society of American Archivists if the library houses local history/archive collections.
Turnover Rate measures the activity of a library’s collection, indicating the number of times each unit of library material would have circulated during the year if circulation was spread evenly throughout the collection. The turnover rate is determined by dividing the number of circulations by the number of items in a particular section of the collection. For example, if you have a section of the collection that contains 1000 items and these items have circulated 1,200 times in the previous year, the annual turnover rate is 1.2. The average item in this section circulated 1.2 times within the last year. If you have another section that contains 2,000 items and these items have circulated 1,500 times, the circulation rate is 0.75. If a section has a relatively high turnover rate, it is one indication that more items may be needed to meet demand (LiLI, Idaho State Library).
To determine the Turnover Rate:
Formula: Annual Circulation ÷ Item Holdings = Turnover Rate
Example: A library with a legal service area population (LSAP) of 90,000 holds 500,000 items (books, videos, audio, etc.) and annual circulation is 1,500,000, the Turnover Rate = 1,500,000 ÷ 500,000 = 3.