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Collection Development

Each public library system in Georgia seeks to provide a collection of materials, in a variety of formats, which reflect the diversity of the population served, and of American society. In the collection, as many points of view are included as possible. It is important that each library system drafts, and has approved, a written collection development policy. The Georgia Public Library Service provides guideline documents and bibliographies to assist Georgia public libraries in completing this process (please see below).

Collection Standards

In order to develop a collection development policy, one must know by what means the collection will be "measured." To assist with this process, the Georgia Public Library Directors drafted a document to act as a tool for evaluating public library collections in Georgia. This draft document, which addresses standards for core collections and collection measurement guidelines, is posted below. A bibliography of possible resources is also provided.

Policy Development

Once standards have been determined and the community served has been identified, the task remains of actually drafting a collection development policy. Many factors beyond standards and users must also be considered. The following bibliography and "model" policies of small, medium, and large Georgia public libraries are provided as a means of assisting Georgia public libraries in the drafting of collection development policies.

Community Studies/User Surveys

It is the goal of each public library system in Georgia to provide a collection of materials that meets the needs of the population served. One of the first steps in the drafting of a collection development policy is to identify what "publics" are served by that library system. There are several websites that provide demographic information that may be useful in understanding a library's community. One such site is the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) website, Please refer to the Internet Resources: Bibliography of URLs for others. The following bibliographic resources may also help in this process.

Core Collections

A library collection may contain many "core" collections. These core collections are essential sources or groups of resources that support the overall purpose and scope of the library collection. For example, core collections of reference, fiction, and other materials might be identified. These core collections may vary from one library system to another, depending on size, local interest, and other factors. The following bibliography may prove beneficial in setting up certain core collections that might be needed.

Opening Day Collections

As new branches or service outlets are added to library systems, collections must be put into place for these new libraries. The selection of materials is dependent upon the overall focus and scope of the collection being built. The method of obtaining and processing the materials is yet another matter. There is very little literature on this subject; however, the resources listed in the following bibliography may assist in developing these start-up collections.

Weeding Guidelines

In an effort to maintain the integrity of the collection a weeding, or de-selection, process must be put into place. The purpose and scope of the library's collection, as well as available funding and space, are factors in determining the local guidelines that are followed in this process. Weeding ensures that the library's vision, mission, roles, and policies are continually supported. The following bibliography offers materials that might be useful in developing weeding guidelines.

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Library Quotes

The public
library is more than a repository of books. It's a mysterious, wondrous place with the power to change lives.
- Elizabeth Taylor,
Chicago Tribune literary editor