Thoughts on the collection development project

I greatly enjoyed the collection analysis process and project for Clayville Elementary. Meeting and talking with the school librarian and visiting her library was tremendously helpful and informative, and working with my classmates in person was particularly fun and helpful.

Looking at a library space in a small elementary school; discussing the issues surrounding collections, spaces, and technology, and especially budgets and how they affect library services; and looking through elementary-level books (something I haven’t done since I was in elementary school) all offered some of the important practical knowledge and experience I am lacking. Mrs. White was wonderfully open about the challenges and benefits of working across two small elementary schools and about the collections in the library and her approach to its management. Having a look at RICAT and seeing how she created circulation lists was also informative– I think in many respects it is the day-to-day operations that make me a bit nervous about running a library, and being introduced to some of these things gradually is a great thing!

I also found it very useful to really dig into the shelves in our chosen section. What did kids’ literature really look like on the shelf? What would I find in terms of condition and content? How well-used would these titles be? I was pleasantly surprised at most of the usage statistics– it seems students were using these books, many of them quite often. Looking through professional and commercial websites for book reviews and user feedback, scanning through publisher lists, and finding some interesting digital content was very helpful; discovering good digital content was a bit more difficult than I thought, but now I have a sense of where I can go for these resources.

Meeting and working with my classmates was definitely the highlight of this project. It was gratifying to meet them in person and connect with them about the class, talk with them about their backgrounds and their plans, and work through the challenges and issues the project presented. I think we worked well together– it’s important to stay organized and on-task when working in a group, and Sue and Melissa were exactly that. Communicating through email (and sometimes text and phone) suited our workflow, but it might have been more difficult if we were less cohesive as a group.

Working on the collection analysis project was a valuable opportunity to get some practical, hands-on experience, do some digging into the issues surrounding collections management in the public schools, and get to know and work with my colleagues in class. It’s energized me, too, in moving along in a new direction– I can’t wait to work on this in my own library!
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