Collection Development: Acquisitions

As Library Curator (or Library Manager, in effect), I have been given money to spend on the library’s physical collection, which is very exciting.

Last semester, I had one of the library volunteers conduct an inspection and evaluation of the fiction collection. He returned to me with a list of books that could potentially be weeded from the collection.

In order to keep faith with, and the focus on, our clients, we distributed a brief survey that asked them to identify whether these books selected for weeding should be kept, and to share with us any books they would like to see added to the collection. Given the nature of the library (it is a non-circulating, browsing library), we expected a very low return.

We received no responses.

At the Committee on Budget meeting, as I justified our request for money to augment the library’s collection with new acquisitions, one of the program advisers suggested we record re-shelving statistics to determine which books are being read by our clients. This semester, the Assistant Curator set up a spreadsheet and requested all volunteers to record the books they re-shelved during their shifts.

So far, this has been incredibly successful. We now have statistics regarding:

  • which books are taken down from the shelves most often, and
  • what kinds of books are taken down from the shelves most often

From these two statistics, we can deduce the kinds of reading that our clients are doing while they are in the library, and we can focus on expanding our collection in those areas (namely, graphic novels, art, history, generalities, short stories, Canadian).

Today I held a meeting with a two volunteers interested in working on the “Acquisitions” project. We have worked out a plan, a focus, a brief timeline, and an outline for a report to take to the Literary and Library Committee for approval.

Our general aim is to incorporate the vision of the Hart House, in particular its focus on increasing diversity, into the collections that are used most often by our clients.


  1. Write the project plan.
  2. Compile and analyze the statistics we have collected, which we will use to direct our search and selection of the best possible additions to our collection.
  3. We will each select 40 titles in each genre we have decided to focus on, and get together next week to discuss our selections and eliminate any that do not agree with the Library’s Collection Development Policy or the Hart House vision statement, or our understanding of our clients’ needs and preferences.
  4. During the selection process, we will check the catalog and the shelves to make sure the library does not already have copies.
  5. Search and compare prices online and in local discount bookstores.
  6. Write the report.
  7. Present the report to the Literary and Library Committee for approval.
  8. Purchase selected books within the limits of our budget.

Personal Note: I am really looking forward to this project, and to writing the report! (Turns out I get excited about writing things like reports.)


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