Before you can document your collection requirements, you need to know about your school community and your collection.
Strategy and vision
Get strategic guidance from your library guiding documents. They set out the overall vision for your library as well as procedures for developing and managing the library and its services. They may also include specific considerations for collection management.
Library guiding documents
Gather background information about your school community including:
- your school community profile
- the teaching topics in your school
- your students' reading interests and recommendations from staff
- information from your school’s reading data and your Integrated Library System (ILS) so you can identify patterns or trends in reading abilities and interests.
School community profile
Your existing collection
Carry out an assessment of your existing collection. Find out:
- which areas are well covered
- where there are gaps in the collection, and
- how well it provides for the needs of your students.
Make a note of:
- any special collection requirements
- parts of the collection that need weeding.
Assessing your school library collection
Weeding your school library collection
Documenting your collection requirements
Taking all the information you have, draft requirements for your collection — this will be more successful if you collaborate with other library and teaching staff to do this.
- list each section of your collection that will be an area of focus during the year, for example, fiction, non-fiction, picture books, reference, curated online content and so on
- show any specific collection development priorities, such as a learning area or topic of interest, targeted reader group or level, or a specific fiction genre
- explain why you've chosen these sections and priorities — it could be that:
- books are out-of-date
- a new inquiry unit or assessment is planned
- you plan to support school-wide student achievement targets, or
- you're responding to reader demand
- suggest what format of material will be most suitable, for example, print, eBooks, magazines or websites
- note how you’re going to evaluate progress against the plan.
Sharing your requirements
You may decide to share your documented plan with teachers, your school's management team and other stakeholders, such as the Board of Trustees or the wider school community.
Keeping your requirements up-to-date
Your collection requirements can change — you'll need to update them as your circumstances and priorities change.
Your requirements guide your selection decisions, but specific choices about what to add to your collection are also affected by:
- your school’s needs, which can change at short notice
- new publications and their availability
- access to resources through other channels, for example, the National Library, your public library, EPIC and website content subscriptions
- your library's budget.
Selecting resources for your collection
Creating a vision for your collection
Your school library probably has a vision or mission. You may find that you also need one for your collection. A clear vision for your collection can provide a reference for strategic collection development and collection management activities such as selecting and weeding resources. It can also help you achieve:
- a balanced, targeted, inclusive and relevant range of resources
- a collection that meets the curriculum, reading, and information needs of your school community.
The information you gather for your requirements will help you formulate an overall vision for your collection.