Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Technical Services Law Librarian

Publication Date

6-2009

Abstract

While preparing to write my first collection development column, I sought advice from several colleagues and friends. I asked them which topics I should tackle and what kinds of policies and practices I should explore. I wanted to choose a topic that was timely, relevant and interesting, yet still reflected the knowledge and experience I have gained in my years as a librarian. Their responses were unanimous: write about what you know. This sage advice was just what I needed, and that’s exactly what I plan to do throughout this series of articles.

If there is one aspect of collection development I know best at this moment, it is the art of developing the collection during a period of reduced acquisition budgets. Not only have we been working through this process in my own library, but I have also spent the last year talking to other librarians across the country about their experiences with this difficult task. Many of us are like the financial planners for our libraries who have seen our traditional models for maximizing growth for our valuable portfolio (our collections) tossed out the window by current economic conditions. We must now work collectively (pardon the pun) if we want to devise the best practices to protect the yield on our portfolio in these uncertain and difficult economic times. When I recommended that this year’s Collection Development Roundtable at the AALL Annual Meeting focus on this issue, I was stunned at the number of enthusiastic and supportive responses I received. It has become abundantly clear to me that I am not the only collection development librarian grappling with this situation—not by a long shot.

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