Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Collection Development: A Few Thoughts

This year we have a new headmaster.  While, this is nothing new to us in terms of what we do, we have found some small changes in policy are necessary.

Fortunately, what that means is that we are getting more departments involved in the selection of materials.  Of course, one of those hot button areas is the health and sex education sections of the collection.  One thing I would advise that school librarians do is to periodically look over your section, take the whole section down and then ask the relevant teachers to come over (for coffee and donuts, wine and cheese, whatever works for your school) and have a short meeting and go over the books that you currently have and have some print outs of books that you may want to order.

By opening the dialog and asking for help on a proactive basis and by having the materials right in front of them, you can ask if the materials meet the curriculum and the needs of the students.  Since that section can be a hot button issue, you can also begin to create some allies and a conversation about what it is that they need and how you can help them with resources.

Furthermore, with this particular subject matter, I would advise that you treat material on it as you would graphic novels.  My policy with graphic novels is to never put one on the shelf until I have looked or read every page, because graphic novels can look innocuous and yet be very adult and you don't want to label them for middle school, when they are for high school only.  I don't trust reviews on graphic novels.

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