Collection Development

Collection Development: The Library housekeeping operation or Technical works of a library handle those tasks associated with bringing materials into the library and making them ready for use for the general public or for the service population and thus include the job of identification, selection, acquisition, organization of the collection (classification and cataloguing) and preparation (labeling and others), covering, security processing, and/or distribution of materials. Within the purview of technical service also come such things as serials, binding / repair, copy cataloguing, original cataloguing, and gifts and exchange.

A library, however large it may be, cannot store all the materials and all the users of a library will not be interested in all the materials kept in it. All the materials will not be used by all the users in a library. So, here arises the need of selection of library materials.

The library collection development is the process of planning and acquiring a balanced collection of library materials of many formats, including books, periodicals, online resources, and other media. It is sometimes considered as synonymous to “Collection building”, which means that there are already nuclei of collection in the library and the librarian is going to build up the collection.  But collection development is a term different from collection building, since the word “development” implies qualitative improvement of the collection, whereas building a collection is likely to mean the planned and systematic development of an already existing collection. It occasionally involves the selection and acquisition of materials, as said by Shipman. Harrod’s Librarian Glossary (6th edition) defines “collection development” as “the process of planning a stock acquisition programme not simply to cater for immediate needs but to build a coherent and reliable collection over a number of years, to meet the objective of the service”.




Exponential Growth: Growth becoming faster and faster.


The proliferation of publications in various physical formats made the exponential growth of literature and all these materials are the record of intellectual endeavours on one hand and on the other hand these are the vehicle of communication for transmission of information and knowledge. Since the basic purpose of the library is to facilitate the process of communication so all the above materials should be collected to help grow the library holding and to meet the ever increasing need and requirement of the users as far as possible. This continuous process of acquiring the reading material is known as collection development. Collection development is an expansion of book selection by enlarging the kinds of materials to which selection principles have been applied, making the collection a total holding at any particular point. It is also a process of maintaining a balanced, consistent and user responsive collection in the library.

The process of collection development includes selection of current as well as retrospective material, weeding out of obsolete, irrelevant, unused and not-to-be-used materials. Evaluation of existing holding should be made for the identification of adequacy and gaps. The gaps should be filled according to the user’s need.

Paul Mosher explains collection development as “a process that should constitute a rational documented programme guided by written policies and protocols and should reflect in sense a contrast between library users and library staff as to what will be acquired, for whom and at what level”.

            Collections are developed by librarians and library staff by buying or otherwise acquiring materials over a period of time, based on the assessment of the information needs of the library's users. In addition to ongoing materials acquisition, library collection development includes:

i) The creation of policies to guide material selection.

ii) Replacement of worn or lost materials.

iii) Removal (weeding) of materials no longer needed in the collection.

iv) Planning for new collections or collection areas.

v) Cooperative decision-making with other libraries or within library consortia.

a) Collection Development and Book Selection: The librarian knows that collection development begins with book selection. Some assume that they are same and the terms are interchangeable; others assume that collection development is a broader term for the same old job, namely, acquisition, but actually collection development is very much different from the term “book selection” both conceptually and operationally.

The library collection and its development determine the nature and the characteristics of the library not only in the holding but in service pattern also. So the librarians should be acquainted with the user needs and requirements and the users should be requested to advise the librarian about their needs. In this way it is a two way job.

b) Objectives of Collection Development: The main objectives of collection development are-

i) A library should acquire and provide all the relevant reading materials to its clientele so that the basic function of the library are fulfilled from the vast amount of literature, which are also increasing day by day.

ii) A library should acquire all other books on the related topics;

iii) A library should contain all the reading materials pertaining to the history and culture of a particular country, city, place or institution as the case may be.

c) Need of Book Selection: The need of book selection arises due to the following reasons-

i) The world of book is so large that a library, however large and resourceful, cannot procure all the materials published and available in the market;

ii) The library collection is meant for the user of a particular library so that library collection should commensurate with the need and requirement of the users;

iii) The physical limitation of storage naturally imposes the necessity for selection.

d) Factors that Influence Book Selection: Selection of the library materials is of prime importance in a library. The librarians with the concern of library staff and with the help of various user groups should perform the job of selection of the library material. In selection process the following factors should be considered:-

i) The Library: The kind, objectives, size and goals of the library, specialization areas of the library;

ii) Users: Need and demand, requirement and intellectual level of the users, the number of users;

iii) Existing Holding: The number of books, its nature and characteristics which are already present in the collection; the merits of the books which are going to be selected;

iv) Fund: The amount allotted for acquisition of books/journals.