Managing and Analyzing Your Collection: A Practical Guide for Small Libraries and School Media Centers

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Measure twice, cut once. . . .

If you can follow a cookbook, you can use these simple "recipes"—calculations, formulas, and measurements—to come up with statistics for analysis and management of your collection. Using measures of timeliness, relevancy, use percentages, user profiles, and comparisons, you can determine in quantitative ways the quality of your library's collection. From there, you can communicate its value to your customers and that's the name of the game!

By gathering concrete statistical evidence, you will be in a position to weed appropriately and make decisions about future market-targeted acquisitions. An added bonus is that you can create a research-based profile of your total library—its collection and users—that you can present to budget-makers and potential funders. These time-tested, step-by-step directions show even the most math-phobic how to:

  • Gather and analyze data produced by automated systems
  • Conduct a random sampling using one of three easy-to-execute methods
  • Evaluate all types of information formats including books, videos, periodicals, and CD-ROMs
  • Provide hard evidence to decision makers
  • Improve collections with smart weeding to make way for new acquisitions
  • Estimate the cost of updating your collection

This easy-to-understand system is perfect for busy librarians and managers who want to systematize the management of their collections. Take advantage of the insights of this expert author team and their unique and practical collection analysis methods!

Part 1: Management Objectives
Part 2: Gathering and Analyzing Collection Data
Part 3: Weeding

A Alternate Ways to Do Data Analysis
B Further Reading for Research and School Library Media Centers

Carol A. Doll

Carol A. Doll is a professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University in Detroit. She is co-author of Bibliotherapy with Young People and has contributed to numerous journals including School Library Media Quarterly and the Journal of Youth Services in Libraries. As an active member of AASL, she is currently the AASL representative to the National Committee for Accrediting Teacher Education. Doll received her doctorate from the University of Illinois, Urbana.

Pamela Petrick Barron

Pamela Petrick Barron is associate professor in the department of Library and Information Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. The content and research supervisor for "Jump Over the Moon: Sharing Literature with Young Children," an award-winning, fifteen-part telecourse currently in use in the United States, Canada, and Europe, she is also the author of Writers on Writing for Young Adults. An active member of AASL and ALSC, she has served as a member of the 1990 Caldecott Committee, the 1996 Newbery Award Committee, and the 2001 Notable Video Committee. Barron received her doctorate from Florida State University.

"The authors do an excellent job of providing tools that will enable librarians to justify their causes to administrators, most notably a concise form to present research findings to principals. At a time when costs of materials are on the rise and budgets are shrinking, this resource is an ideal addition to a professional collection for a small public library or school media center."

"Building on respected models, the authors have produced a practical guide for managing and evaluating small library and school media center collections."

"...a collection management book that librarians will actually read from cover to cover. Its simple format of three chapters covering management objectives, gathering and analyzing collection data, and weeding, isn¡åt overwhelming and technical... The chapter on weeding is especially interesting and includes what to do when patrons are pulling things out of the trash as quickly as they are put in. Highly Recommended."
—Book Report/Library Talk