Collection Evaluation: Knowing What You Have and What You Need Debra E. Kachel Instructor, School Library & Info Technologies Graduate School Mansfield University This workshop was made possible with funds from: Pennsylvania Department of Education Commonwealth Libraries Bureau of Library Development Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) Funds June 2010 This workshop utilizes WebJunction Pennsylvania • WJPA provides an online learning community for librarians to share ideas, news, and engage in online courses. • Workshop handouts, activities, and bookmarked links, as well as this PowerPoint are available at http://pa.webjunction.org/1) • User-created login required Workshop Overview Participants will learn to tailor a library collection to meet the needs of students, teachers, and the curriculum by: 1. evaluating existing resources, 2. applying techniques and planning to weeding, and 3. prioritizing and locating resources to meet identified needs. Workshop Objectives Participants will be able to: 1. Apply data and strategies to assess existing library resources, 2. Set priorities to build a physical and virtual collection for their school, 3. Effectively weed collections, and 4. Access selection resources to develop a focused library collection. The Collection Development Process TERMINOLOGY Collection –all the resources that are delivered (made available and accessible) through library services to students and staff Formats – physical and virtual including print, AV, electronic databases, Internet sources, etc. Delivery methods– physical (in library), ILL, library web site “portal,” and other technologies (computers, satellite, etc.) From Empowering Learners, the AASL guidelines “The school library media program includes flexible and equitable access to physical and virtual collections of resources that support the school curriculum and meet the diverse needs of all learners (33).” One of the ACTIONS for the school librarian: “Designs and maintains a library website that provides 24/7 access to digital information sources, instructional interventions, reference services, links to other libraries and academic sites, information for parents, and exhibits of exemplary student work (34).” Misconception A “balanced” collection means having resources on every topic. Does NOT Mean: Does mean: • You purchase a few resources on every topic known to mankind •Having a balance of opinions on controversial topics studied in the curriculum •Replacing each weeded title with something on the same topic (1 to 1 replacement) •Representing diversity in the topics collected- includes “ethnic and racial backgrounds, age, physical and cognitive abilities, family status, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious and spiritual values, and geographic location.” •Purchasing resources “just in case” there might be a need Self-Censorship & Selection Bias Reflect on your selection practices. Do you: Avoid selecting potentially controversial books and media for reasons, conscious or unconscious, undermining the goal of a balanced collection? Purchase more aggressively on topics or genres that you personally are interested in? Another Misconception The school librarian is solely responsible for the library collection. COLLABORATION = OWNERSHIP = LIBRARY ADVOCATES If you want the staff and students to feel connected to the library, ask them to participate in: 1. Recommendations and selection of print and digital resources 2. Organization, especially of web resources on the library website 3. Collection evaluation (teachers have subject expertise) 4. Weeding Collection Assessment 1. Analyzing what you have 1. How much? 2. How old? 3. How does it compare to others? 2. Analyzing how it is used 1. Circulation/in-library use 2. Comparing use 3. Electronic counting-website, databases Collection Assessment – Analyzing What You Have By uploading MARC records from the library’s automated system to one of the vendor analysis sites, you can receive reports by Dewey 100s and 10s and other classifications prefixes like F or REF, on: Number of titles or percentages of the collection Average age data and titles by decade Age “sensitivity” Comparisons to other “benchmark” collections NOTE: NO usage data, only collection data Some Companies that offer FREE Collection Analysis Services Follett Library Resources Mackin Bound to Stay Bound Capstone or check with your book jobber Understand that vendors provide this service because they want your business. Additionally, they provide a searchable database of titles they sell. Collection Assessment – Analyzing Usage Using data from the circulation system, you can print reports on: Circulation/in-library or in-classroom use Comparing use annually or by call numbers Monitoring use by patron type, grade level, etc. All this by Dewey 100s and 10s and other classification prefixes like F, REF, etc. NOTE: Usage data, some collection data Analyzing Usage Data It’s not as easy as it seems! Since the amount of books and resources in each call number or prefix areas varies, how do you determine which areas are receiving the highest use based on the amount of titles in that section? For example: The 500s have 250 titles with 132 uses last school year. The 900s have 838 titles with 310 uses last school year. Which section should receive priority for additional purchases based on use? Percent of Relative Use Represents use “relative” to size and “relative” to the way the rest of the collection is used The calculation assumes that “perfect” use is 100%. In other words, the size of the collection is adequate to fill 100% of its uses. Over 100% = over used collection that likely needs more titles to meet demands Under 100% = underused collection that does not need more titles and probably needs weeded Activity 1 – Percent of Relative Use You will need: 1. Activity 1: Percent of Relative Use Directions & Questions (includes Ephrata MS Collection Age Report) 2. Laptop with Excel spreadsheet “Activity1- PRU.xls’ file called “Percent of Relative Use” NOTE: Use the documents from WebJunction or provided by the Trainer Activity 1 – Using Percent of Relative Use 1. Why do you need to use a full year of data to analyze PRU? 2. How does the percent of relative use impact collection development? 3. What new information does it provide to the librarian? 4. How does this help the librarian to prioritize needs? Activity 1 – Percent of Relative Use Some Caveats PRU is just one piece of usage evidence; mostly applies to book collection. The reliability of the PRU depends on capturing ALL use data. The assumption is that future use is based on past use. That is not always true. What factors might change? What other factors might you need to consider? The Numbers Game: How much is enough? Many state and national guideline or standards documents will not specify how many books, AV, electronic databases, etc., a school library should have because the way the students and staff use resources in each building is different. Only the librarian and teaching staff can determine this. However, the PRU is useful in learning if size is meeting demands. Pennsylvania Guidelines (c2011) Books- “currently useful volumes” Minimum Standard Exemplary Elementary 20 25 30 Middle School 15 20 25 High School 15 20 25 Serials- magazines, journals, newspapers, etc., with indexing Minimum Standard Exemplary Elementary 15-20 20-35 35-50 Middle School 45-55 55-70 70-125 High School 5-70 70-105 105-150 Collection Assessment 1. Analyzing what you have 1. How much? 2. How old? 3. How does it compare to others? 2. Analyzing how it is used 1. Circulation/in-library use 2. Comparing use 3. Electronic counting-website, databases Types of Electronic or Digital Resources • Online databases • Online reference sources • Streaming video collections • Commercial search engines • eBooks • Online tutorials • Software programs that are licensed • Websites and portals (web indexing sites) Unique Features of Electronic Resources • More up-to-date • Changing • 24/7 access from anywhere • May need YOU as an intermediary for instruction, guidance or access (passwords) • May be access to technology issues Selection & Evaluation of Electronic Resources • Needs Assessment • Match to available resources (free websites and/or subscription databases) • Ask for trials if subscription-based • Have students develop webliographies or Internet pathfinders • Monitor use (page counters or databases statistics) Best article: Doug Johnson’s “Managing Digital Resources” Check your POWER Library Usage Database vendors can provide some data. Keep a schedule or lesson planning book to record when students are using specific databases for curriculum related research, including the topics. Vendor Logins Searches Items Examined Ephrata MS EBSCO 232 1189 1058 Ephrata MS Gale 80 68 14 Ephrata MS HW Wilson 284 533 2269 Work with your IT Staff Talk to your IT staff about setting page counters on your library web pages so that you know how many times resources are accessed. They may have access to tools such as WebTrends. One that is relatively simple to use is http://www.webcounter.com/. However, you need html access, so your IT staff will likely need to set it up. Workshop Overview Participants will learn to tailor a library collection to meet the needs of students, teachers, and the curriculum by: 1. evaluating existing resources, 2. applying techniques and planning to weeding, and 3. prioritizing and locating resources to meet identified needs. Steps in Developing a Plan for Collection Building 1. Identify specific areas of high use 2. Verify use with curriculum & standards 3. Seek input from teachers 4. Identify needed resources Identifying Specific Collection Areas Select one of the areas with high PRU from the Activity 1. Call # Circ % of Circ Copy Ct % of Coll REF 4,916 8.3 419 3.22 257.8% 500-599 15,007 25.35 1,326 10.2 248.5% 900-999 15,069 25.45 2,893 22.25 114.4% Assumption: Past use predicts future use. PRU Analyzing by Dewey Tens To drill down into the way the 500s are being used in this library, we need to look at the 500s by Dewey tens groups. In Activity 2 you will gather and interpret both quantitative and qualitative data about a sub area of a Dewey hundred group. Activity 2 – Collection Building–500s You will need: 1. Activity 2: Collection Building-500s Directions & Questions (includes Ephrata MS Collection Age Report - 500s) 2. Laptop with Excel spreadsheet “Activity2- 500s.xls” NOTE: Use the documents from WebJunction or provided by the Trainer Activity 2 – Analyzing by Dewey Tens How does this process help the librarian to target areas to build? How does a subject analysis of academic standards help in collection development? How valuable is teacher input? How does this help the librarian to prioritize needs? Collection Evaluation also Reveals Areas that Need “Downsizing” Looking at the Activity 2 spreadsheet, which areas of the 500s show relatively little use and may be taking up valuable “real estate” on library shelves? What is the average age of that section(s)? Weeding/Deselection A necessary component of collection development Better to have nothing than something that is a moldy “oldie”! Lack of funds is NEVER an excuse for not weeding! Every item has a useful “life” cycle. Letting go is such a hard thing to do! 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Currency is king! Can’t keep everything! Hoarding is not good! Easier for people to find what they want. Looks count! Small but higher quality collections are in! Unweeded collections often contain unacceptable stereotypes (sexist and racist) ….lessens credibility CREW: Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding An accepted weeding methodology that has been around since the 1970s Especially effective for school and small public libraries Rule of thumb-weed 5% of collection annually (500 = 5% of 10,000 collection) Entire collection should be reviewed every 5 years MUSTIE Criteria M = Misleading U = Ugly S = Superseded T = Trivial I = Irrelevant E = Elsewhere CREW Manual: A Weeding Manual for Modern Librarians (c 2008) at http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/ The CREW Method 1. Develop policy and have administrative support 2. Gather usage statistics 3. Develop a time line/calendar 4. Figure out the logistics and who can help 5. Know what the options are for repurposing or discarding materials CAVEAT: Don’t offer discards to classrooms if they are out-ofdate and contain stereotypes and inaccuracies. Activity 3 – The Weeding Plan You will need: 1. The file or printout of “Activity3-WeedingPlan- Directions.pdf” 2. Laptop to access the weeding resources at http://delicious.com/collectionassessment/weeding 3. Laptop to type group’s work 4. Large poster paper and marker NOTE: Use the documents from WebJunction or provided by the Trainer Activity 3 – The Weeding Plan Formation of groups: Group 1 – Policy Group 2 – Data & Records Group 3 – Time Line Group 4 – Repurposing & Disposal Assign roles within groups Report & save work Work shared later on WebJunction The Collection Development Process Traditional Selection Tools Such as the Wilson “Catalog” series, now referred to as the “Core Collection” series and available as online databases Expensive Print sources quickly outdated Professional Review Journals Online Booklist Online School Library Journal School Library Monthly Teacher Librarian Multicultural Review VOYA-Voice of Youth Advocates Horn Book Vendors, Jobbers, Publishers, oh my! All have online sites Some are full service (Follett, Mackin) Contain recommended lists Correlate titles to state academic standards Recognize they only provide reviews and other recommendations for titles they carry Topical Bibliographies/ Subject Specific Sites Booklist themes issues Library & education associations (NSTA’s Outstanding Science Trade Books lists, ALA’s Great Websites for Kids, etc.) Spanish resources - Barahona Center Many indexed at the Resources for School Librarians site under “Selection Tools” Online Book Stores Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc. Can be a good source for out-of-print titles - Powells.com, Booksamillion.com Can also sell titles through some of these sites NO MARC records, processing, etc. May have high shipping fees Workshop Review In order to tailor a library collection to meet the needs of students, teachers, and the curriculum, can you: 1. evaluate existing library resources using both collection and usage data, 2. prioritize subject needs and locate resources, and 3. create a weeding policy and plan to revitalize the library collection? Evaluation and Comments Be sure to check WebJunction for more resources on this topic.