Developing a collection management plan

When you’ve gathered the requirements for your collection, you can develop your collection management plan. It sets out a step-by-step process for how the collection management cycle works in your library and helps with your budget.

Writing a collection management plan

Your collection management plan can be part of your library guiding documents. Include the vision for your collection if you have one.

Every library has different needs for their collection management plan. As well as defining your procedures, you’ll need to say who has responsibility for doing the work. Your plan could include the following topics:

  1. Your rationale and purpose, or vision
  2. Guidelines and processes for selecting school library resources, including selection criteria
  3. How you manage donations or gifts
  4. Procedures for processing, mending, and weeding items
  5. How you handle complaints about a specific library item, sometimes called a 'challenged resource'
  6. Your commitment to respecting copyright
  7. Reviewing and maintaining the collection management plan.

Queen’s High School in Dunedin has developed a plan for their library collection. They use appendices to describe processes in more detail.

Queen's High School library collection development policy

As part of your collection management plan, you'll need to set up a system for managing all the resources in your collection. The background information you've gathered will help you make a selection plan and work out a budget.

Selecting and purchasing resources

Resources to help with your plan

WebJunction — the learning place for libraries

WebJunction offers a self-paced 1.5-hour online course about collection development and management, developed by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in the USA. You need to log in to access the course.

The course is useful for library staff who:

  • don’t have much experience in collection management and are looking for training and an in-depth overview of the entire collection management process
  • have experience, but want to better understand the collection management cycle and process for writing plans and policy documents.

Alternative Basic Library Education (ABLE) 2 — Collection Development Policy

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)

IFLA has developed a brief guide to writing collection development policy. It’s useful if you want a quick guide and advice about how to write a comprehensive collection management plan, and what your plan should include.

Guidelines for a collection development policy using the conspectus model

Australian School Library Association (ASLA)

ASLA offers a guide to writing school library policies which includes collection management.

The guide is for library staff interested in guidance specific to a school library around how to develop policies and document procedures for best practice management.

A manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian School Library Resource Centres