Submitted by Laura Guest
How Well Do You Know Your Library Collection?
One of the activities I completed for the LS 593, Invigorate Your School Library with the ASSL National Standards class was an analysis of a small section of my library collection. I chose this activity because I changed schools and am not as familiar with this school’s collection as I was with my previous school. I admit I learned more than I expected and will slowly use this technique to work my way through the entire collection.
In the past I weeded using the standard weeding guidelines and then made a list of areas that were “empty” and in high demand by students and staff and began replacing books as my budget allowed. I tried to purchase a range of reading levels based on what grade it tied to curriculum or what age student’s seemed most interested in the topic. Some areas I wrote Donor’s Choose Grants to get quicker funds. Though this approached works, it isn’t as organized as it could be.
One of the resources provided by Dr. Rinio was from the National Library of New Zealand. The website, https://bit.ly/2PoEbNg, Assessing your school library collection, addresses: Why assess your library collection, When to assess your library collection and How to assess your collection. They have both Nonfiction and Fiction forms for gathering information to analyze the collection. One of the columns, Level(s) required reading /curriculum level, had me looking at the books in a way I hadn’t before. I used the Follett Collection Analysis report to quickly find the reading levels and copyright dates. I was able to create a report from my library software to get the number of checkouts for each book. I analyzed 550-559.99 (average age 2001) and 580-589.9 (average age 1992) and found most of the books are at a 7th grade or higher reading level. I am at a PreK-6th grade elementary school.
The combined information was very useful and I will definitely use this procedure again. This website also has a section on “selecting resources for your collection”. This is one of the most useful websites I’ve encountered in my 17 years as a librarian!