The paper evaluates Collection Development Policy and its overall benefits to libraries. It starts by introduction and the meaning of Collection Development Policy, its components and benefits. Then there is explanation on the general requirements for successful implementation CDP. Finally there is review and evaluation of the existing stock within the library and conclusion.
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All libraries have got one primary task of making information available through collection, selection and preservation. Such process is normally made easier through application of relevant policies such as Collection Development policy. The policy assists libraries in organization through effective management of information and other resources (Strong, 1999).
Definition of Collection Development Policy
A collection development policy presents a written statement of a library’s intention for building collections. The CDP describes collections components including strengths and weaknesses as well as providing clear guidelines for the library employees. The development of the document requires time and careful considerations for the purposes of proving its relevance to the subject.
Purpose of CDP
The main purpose for a library in normally to sort and provide necessary access to relevant information and resources. Improvement in technology has guaranteed libraries the chance to migrate from holdings method to access strategies which enable information to be provided efficiently and in time. Collection policies are on the increase therefore making libraries prepare in disseminating widely available information (Strong, 1999).
Explanation on Collection Development Policy (CDP)
The document is expected to provide updated information as well as being flexible when it comes to adapting to various changes. At the same time the guidelines provided should be modifiable in line with the library’s collection needs. Consequently, the collection development policy should be placed on the World Wide Web as a resource for the library’s patrons and source of reference for other libraries (Johnson, 1994).
Policy statements normally provide parameters through which employees and users of the library work. Collection Development Policy serves purposes such as; selecting materials, describing current collections, and at the same time makes the staff aware of the aims and objectives of the organization.
In addition it gives the various priorities attached to different activities and assists in the processing of budget and overall collection management activities. In general terms CDP prevents the library from being controlled by events as well as individual interests. The document also controls the purchase of resources preventing the cases of obtaining resources not in support of the library’s mission (Clayton and Gorman, 2006).
Components of a CDP
The collection development policy provides the necessary guidance to staff in the process of selecting and deselecting resources for collection. The various processes involved include; acquisition, housing, weeding, retention and archiving, placing all manner of material within their relevant subjects. Such organization helps in reducing the level of bias since all individual selection decisions are guided within the context of the objectives of collection practices.
This ultimately assists in identifying and filling the gaps within the responsibilities associated with collection development. Such practices ensure existence of consistency in the process of selection and revision done on materials. Collection Development Policy also helps in defining the purpose and scope of various collections as well as allowing deep evaluation on selection decisions. The guidelines provided makes it easier for the training of new staff and at the same time provides answers to most questions raised by selectors (Johnson, 1994).
The collection development policy also provides relevant base necessary for future planning. This assists in planning of the available financial resources making it easier when it comes to priority determination. There is provision for protecting library funds since the policy grants clear guidelines on acquisition bids based on fair allocation of resources.
The document in its formal presentation ensures continuity hence of great benefit in acquiring knowledge on collection as well as acting as reminder of library goals and objectives. The defined objectives are helpful in guiding other activities related to collection such as cataloguing, selection and de-selection and other relevant delivery activities (Johnson, 1994).
The other benefit of CDP is that it offers the required public relations amongst the library users, administrators and related funding organizations. The document gives clear objectives indicating the position of the organization on demonstrating accountability and following the stated goals.
Relevance of the document is determined by active participation of users and administrators which acts as source of strong relations between library users and the employees. The CDP serves as a contract document between the library and its users and at the same time giving clear functions of the library in terms of collections and various services offered to institutions. It makes it easier for the justification of individual selection based on standard objectives and also makes it possible to reject unwanted materials (Johnson, 1994).
Benefits of establishing a written CDP for the Limerick Institute of Technology Library
Limerick Institute of Technology Library policy document would identify various issues such as the level of access, content, and engagement of the community in which it will be established, also important is the education standards as well as the training programs which assists in achieving the mission and vision. Operating under the strategies of Limerick Institute Library requires specific initiatives for collection development, some of which are explained as below (Shenton, 2005).
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The CDP will consider increase in the virtual space and easy access to the collections either manually or electronically on a twenty-four hour basis six days a week. This would also entail access to other materials such as Library catalogues and other services. There would be issues on subscription to several relevant electronic databases which would make it easier for clients to access services irrespective of the region where they are stationed free of charge.
Creation of more materials through digital processing would be given priority and these would entail cultural materials inform of music, manuscripts as well as pictures. The community would be engaged in online exhibitions and at the same time staff being educated and trained on the rural and remote communities, granting them the opportunity to have the skills required in operation of the internet and usage of online library resources (Shenton, 2005).
The library would offer sufficient space for readers making it capable of accommodating many people in one sitting. There would be improved access to collections and exhibition galleries. The project would grant the community the opportunity to access virtual library services with clients capable of adjusting available spaces to suite their needs. The internet services would replace paper-based resources making work and accessibility easier.
The method implemented on electronic storage of information would present various key benefits to Limerick Library some of which include; easier and timely delivery of information enabling clients to access information irrespective of their locations. There would be free access to all Limerick Library catalogues through their website making selection of titles easier to clients.
Collection Development Policy would also enable digitisation of heritage resources which enables scanning of various materials such as photographs and maps. This would promote access to wider range of materials which previously proved restrictive. The digitisation also enhances the library’s role in collecting, preserving and access to several materials linked to heritage (Tedd and Large, 2005).
However some few challenges are involved which include the right to ownership and access to materials. The problem of digital resources being accessed by anyone from all over the world provided they have authentic entry through database provider. The process of archiving presents some considerable challenge where the relative costs of archive and print versions differ (Tedd and Large, 2005).
Requirements for implementation and revision of the CDP
The first requirement for the implementation of the CDP is the library’s mission statement, the purpose for which the policy is drafted and the audience it should address. Some of the inclusions the document requires are statements on user groups, types of programs served by the CDP, the nature and size of the collection and detailed budget. The various cooperative agreements on policy and practices are also provided for (Dahl et al, 2006).
General and Narrative Statements
General statements would be required for implementation purposes. This comprises the listing of all characteristics which determine the nature of development required for the collection.
These include such issues as current situation, acquisitions, the kind of resources involved in form of periodicals, monographs and the like, kind of language applicable, format whether in printed or electronic form, sources of funds, the various policies safeguarding collection and maintenance. Within these important subjects on relevant policies and rights of complaints are all necessary for complete implementation purposes (Evans and Saponaro, 2005).
Narrative statements are also important since it helps in defining the library services in relation to the community it serves. The statement should provide for languages and regions as well as intellectual coverage based on chronological order.
Also the library units responsible for the collections with the subjects being described based on the library classification scheme is a consideration. And finally the relationship between disciplines and the required policies should be followed for the purposes of acquiring information (Evans and Saponaro, 2005).
Subject profiles are necessary for the purposes of revealing and helping in collection evaluation. This proves important in the process of periodic updating of information reflecting on changing times. The overview of collection strength and intensities is very vital before implementation process.
The overview represents the general synopsis on the network’s coordinated collection policy. Such a collection is normally referred to as conspectus report which provdes evaluation on the library’s division, categories and subject. The information is useful in managing library resources hence making it possible to ascertain on relevant decisions required for the general operations of the library (Clayton and Gorman, 2006).
Review and evaluation of existing stock
The library consists of printed books, manuscripts as well as archives of lasting value, antiquarian and modern books for intellectual and historical contents. The existing collection strength include availability of resources such as; History and Literary collections in Irish and other languages, Irish Literature, Celtic studies, Medieval studies, Religion in Ireland, Estate papers, Official Publications, Intellectual history of University College, Law and Comical artefacts.
The section on Special Collections and Archives involves collections in different formats which includes; printed materials, manuscripts, facsimile formats, maps, photographs, musical scores as well as microfilm. There are also copies of theses written from higher degree courses which include maters and PhDs fro Limerick Institute of Technology College (Tedd and Large, 2005).
All important records generated by Limerick Institute of Technology and which more so relates to the history of the institution are organized and preserved by the institute Archives. All the donations and other internal transfers are generally controlled by agreements as well as necessary transfer procedures. Relevance of overall Special Collections is reviewed for validity purposes (Tedd and Large, 2005).
The collection methods and techniques are required to ascertain on the depth and strength of the existing collections. The useful techniques required for implementation of CDP are either collection-centered or client-centered. The work of the collection-centered is to assist in examining the content and nature of resources and their information for the purpose of determining their relevance with external standards.
On the other hand client centered techniques provides detailed descriptions on the collection’s effectiveness and relevance. The combination of the two techniques during implementation alongside quantitative and qualitative data gathering techniques provides accurate and reliable results for present and future use.
Clayton, P. & Gorman, G.E. 2006. Managing information resources in libraries: Collection management in theory and practice. London; Library Association Publishing.
Dahl, M., Banerjee, K & Spalti, M. 2006. Digital libraries: integrating content and Systems. Oxford: Chandos Publishing Ltd.
Evans, G. E. & Saponaro, M. Z. 2005. Developing library and information centre Collections (5th Ed.) Littleton, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited.
Johnson, P. 1994. Writing Collection Development Policy statements: Getting Started. Technicalities, 14 (6), pp 2-5.
Shenton, A. K. 2005. Integration of paper and electronic Resources in school Libraries. The School Librarian, 53 (3), pp 121-123.
Strong, R. 1999. A Collection Development Policy incorporating electronic formats. Journal of interlibrary loan, document delivery & information supply, 9(4), pp 53-64.
Tedd, L.A. & Large, A. 2005. Digital libraries: principles and practice in a global Environment. Munich: Saur Essential Resource Pack Readings