Creating a collection development policy for your Christian school library may seem like a daunting task. However, it is one of the most important documents a school library needs. Taking the time to create a thorough collection development policy now will save you a lot of time and stress later.
Reason 1: It provides clarity and guidance for purchasing.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the abundance of available books and resources. A collection development policy will help you focus in on purchasing materials that will best support your library’s mission and goals.
Reason 2: It helps you decide what to remove.
Many school libraries are overflowing with out-of-date, unused, irrelevant, and tattered materials. A good collection development policy will give you the authority to remove these types of items and will include guidelines and procedures for removing those items from your library.
Reason 3: It protects you as the librarian.
One of the most stressful things a school librarian can encounter is a materials challenge. A materials challenge occurs when a parent, teacher, or other member of the school community objects to a specific book (or electronic resource) being included in the library’s collection. Librarians are often unprepared for how to handle this situation. A thorough collection development policy will include specific instructions and procedures on what to do when this occurs. When a library has a school-approved collection development policy, the librarian is protected from being the only one responsible for the decision and procedures.
Reason 4: It establishes credibility and professionalism.
When a well-thought-out collection development policy exists, the librarian is able to demonstrate that the library is not just a room full of books and she is not just the guardian of those books. She can demonstrate that the library requires careful planning and consistent upkeep in order to run at its greatest potential.
Can you think of any other reasons a Christian school library needs a collection development policy? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.