LITT: Collection Development

Selecting and purchasing materials for libraries is an art. Share your experiences building and evaluating your library’s collection during LITT: Collection Development chats. Great for academic, school, public, and special libraries.

Our next LITT: Collection Development chat will be held in August 2022

Notes from Past LITT: Collection Development Chats

Thanks to everyone who attended today’s LITT: Collection Development – Policy Check chat. We reviewed the basic parts of a collection development policy and procedures for a reconsideration of materials. Here is a summary of the resources we shared during the discussion:

Here are some general tips that were shared during the chat:

  • Include language that indicates that someone who wants to challenge materials from the collection must be a patron/community member
  • Check your website and make sure that the most recent version of your policy is posted and do post your policy if it isn’t on your website
  • There was interest in emphasizing language that supports the role of parents in selecting books for children (i.e. it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that children read appropriate materials)
  • Some libraries have had patrons or community members come into the library or repeatedly call to ask if the library carried certain books
  • Some libraries have had patrons or community members request that the library purchase challenged books
  • You should regularly review your policies with your board or administration and update them as needed
  • Some policies also include a statement on weeding and methods for deselection of materials

Some of the libraries at the chat agreed to share their policies, in case you would like to look at them:

Other Sample Policies:

Finally, check out the testimony from the House Oversight Committee hearings on Free Speech and Censorship (from April 2022):

We had a great time discussing donations and doing a live unboxing. Here some of the topics that we discussed:

  • General donation policies
    • Some libraries ask that materials be boxed up and clean
    • Some libraries do not accept textbooks
    • Nearly all libraries have some sort of policy about determining what to do with donations (i.e. they are not automatically added to the collection, the library can dispose of them, if needed, etc.)
  • Attendees shared most notable items donated – one library received a donation of a coin collection!
    • Many receive empty DVD or VHS boxes that can be reused
    • Some received items infected with insects
  • What do libraries do with donations they can’t use?
    • Put them in a book sale
    • Put them on a free shelf/table (especially popular for romance paperbacks)
    • Use them in little free libraries
    • Offer them to adult care centers, childcare centers, or schools
    • Use them in a library craft
    • Sell them on Amazon or Biblio (thanks to Micheal from East Bonner for the recommendation!)
    • Trash/recycle (if possible)
  • We also had an interesting conversation about how to de-odor books that come in smelly:
    • Baking soda tub
    • Dryer sheets
    • Dry spray from Demco
    • Baggie with essential oils
    • From West Bonner: “I have a plastic bin with a screen in the bottom that sits on top of charcoal bags. We call the box Smokey. When books come back with smoke smell they get checked out to Smokey and go into the bin. It take a week or so and they come out smelling clean.”
  • Some advice on donations:
    • Use volunteers to help with the initial triage of materials and prepping anything for recycling

I was inspired by the amount of care that libraries around Idaho put into materials donated by their community. Adding donations to the collection is a LOT more work than it seems. While many donations don’t make it to the shelves, every once in a while you get that one new book that you need to complete a series or shorten your holds list.

Thanks to everyone who was able to join us for the LITT: Collection Development “B” Movies chat earlier today. We had a fun discussion about the best worst movies. Here are the highlights:

Thanks to everyone who attended the LITT: Collection Development chat in July. We had a great discussion about how we track usage statistics and use them to inform collection development practices at our libraries. Elaine Sloane from Boise Public Library shared her library’s yearly snapshot spreadsheet, which helps her library track trends over time.

Thanks to all of you who were able to attend the LITT: Collection Development virtual chat earlier this month. We discussed/debated physical vs. streaming media. Our verdict: physical media is not going away, but it is becoming increasingly hard to collect. Some popular shows aren’t available on DVD and, until there is greater access to broadband in rural areas, streaming isn’t an option for all Idahoans. The Ada Community Library shared a unique idea of circulating Roku devices loaded with the Netflix and Disney+ apps. The library pays for the subscription services, which travel with the Roku Device as it circulates. Cool!

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the LITT: Collection Development chat earlier this week. We had a great discussion on how to build collections with equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Here are some of the resources that we shared during the Zoom:

A collection of EDI resources, including information on doing a collection audit (resources near the bottom of the page):

ICfL’s professional development portal for EDI (and more!):

A resource for finding diverse books:

Librarians from around the state shared their strategy for selecting and purchasing eBooks.

Questions or comments about LITT: Collection Development chats? Contact Jennifer.


LITT: Academic Library Community

October 25, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm MDT

LITT: Neurodiverse

October 28, 10:00 am - 11:00 am MDT

LITT: Adult Services

November 8, 10:00 am - 11:00 am MST

LITT: Academic Library Community

January 24, 2023, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm UTC+0

LITT: Academic Library Community

April 25, 2023, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm UTC+0

Jennifer Redford

Youth Services Consultant
Email / 208-639-4147
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