Collection Development

A library's collection of materials is never static. New resources arrive continually; formats expand, community needs and tastes change; obsolete materials must be purged. All the decisions regarding selection, de-selection, and re-ordering are deliberated, backed by thoughtful and coherent policy.

Last updated: March 31, 2015

Competency: Builds and maintains a collection of resources in many formats based on a determination of the entire community

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Strives to build a collection that is diverse, current and relevant
  • Seeks to support the Board’s strategic objectives by prioritizing relevant collection areas
  • Demonstrates broad knowledge of authors, literature and publishers
  • Consults a wide variety of sources and connects with other professionals to stay informed about new materials, resources and technologies, and their potential to deliver improved services or reach new target audiences
  • Pursues a variety of information sources, including popular media and social media, to keep current on topics relevant to library users
  • Assesses and responds to the community's changing needs and interests to inform the ongoing development of the collection
  • Demonstrates comprehensive knowledge of the library’s collection (subject ranges, age, size, level, strengths and shortcomings) and applies the knowledge to the decision-making process
  • Conducts surveys that yield quantifiable results in order to make selection decisions
  • Manages and integrates a variety of collections in an array of formats, including collections of periodicals, government documents, and AV
  • Seeks to reflect the demographics of the community, including items that promote cross-cultural understanding and resources to assist with newcomer settlement
  • Understands the different requirements and interests of various groups such as young adults, children, those with special needs  and selects appropriate resources for those groups
  • Connects with teens and those who work with teens to stay informed about new materials and technologies
  • Connects with children, families and others who work with children to stay informed about new materials and technologies.


Competency:  Builds and maintains a collection of reference resources to meet community needs

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Demonstrates knowledge of the reference collection, encompassing print and electronic, and in-house as well as applicable external sources
  • Understands the various reference needs of adults, children, YA and other groups, and collects appropriate resources for those groups
  • Provides a variety of readily accessible reference resources that meet identified community needs
  • Prepares bibliographies and other user guides to resources in a variety of formats, and creates tutorials to help users navigate information sources
  • Compiles and maintains information about community resources appropriate to users’ needs and in conjunction with the library’s strategic plan.


Competency:  Establishes and applies selection and evaluation criteria to build a collection of high quality, popular and relevant resources

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Understands the acquisition and collection development processes and policies for the library
  • Identifies and applies objective standards to evaluate the content of resources for accuracy and authority, and identifies any bias or point of view
  • Selects and evaluates resources to assure their quality, pertinence, authenticity and inclusiveness
  • Follows trends in traditional and digital publishing and gathers best practices
  • Consults a variety of review sources, in combination with informed judgment and knowledge of the community, to evaluate materials
  • Identifies and evaluates a variety of sources for materials, including commercial and non-commercial.


Competency:  Establishes collection development policies and procedures

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Evaluates, recommends and applies policies and procedures for identifying and selecting library materials for all audiences and in all formats
  • Ensures that collection policies are consistent with the mission and broader policies of the library and the Canadian Library Association Code of Ethics, the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and the Canadian Library Association’s Position Paper on Intellectual Freedom
  • Develops policies and procedures for handling challenges to library materials
  • Develops policies for weeding the collection, handling donations and gifts, and disposing of obsolete materials
  • Understands and uses a weeding guideline to ensure popular and attractive collections
  • Evaluates purged items, and makes decisions regarding replacement
  • Establishes and maintains a weeding cycle for the entire collection
  • In collaboration with staff, targets specific areas of the collection for weeding and/or renewal.

Please review's Terms of Use. For questions, comments and suggestions regarding this website, please Contact SOLS Helpdesk.

The Southern Ontario Library Service  is working to make our website accessible to all. We welcome comments and suggestions on access improvements and encourage you to take a look at our updated Accessibility Policy. If you require a particular PDF or word document in an accessible format, please do not hesitate to contact us. We also offer BrowseAloud reading support - click on the orange graphic to the right to launch.  Learn more about BrowseAloud.

The support of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is gratefully acknowledged.