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Friday, November 7 • 12:45pm - 2:00pm
The Ten Commandments of a Good Collection

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What is a “good” library collection? Received wisdom tells us a good collection is one that meets the needs of the institution. But what are the characteristics that coalesce to create such collections? Our search to define the good collection in conceptual terms arose from a practical collection assessment project, with the pragmatic goal of liberating shelf space in a liberal arts college library. Our deliberations were informed by a critical review of the literature on collection development and insights gained from hands-on involvement in planning and managing the assessment project. The result was a set of ten qualities which we argue define the “good collection”, and which we have provocatively labeled as our “Ten Commandments.” We take our inspiration here from Harry Faulkner-Brown, a British architect who designed many notable library buildings around the world and in the process formulated a set of desirable qualities that became known as the “ten commandments” of library space planning, which were later revisited and updated by UK library director Andrew McDonald (2006). Like McDonald, we do not intend the qualities that we have defined to be seen as prescriptive instructions, but offer them rather as thought-starters about guiding principles for library colleagues tasked with building, managing, and developing collections. Our criteria were developed for a circulating collection in an undergraduate library, but are arguably transferable to other library settings. Our objective for this session is to share our ideas with colleagues and obtain their feedback to refine our model. We shall first present our ten qualities and the rationale for each criterion, and then invite reactions to our criteria, including comments on the qualities that participants rate as the most important, and other qualities that they would include or substitute. Attendees will learn about current thinking and practice in evaluating library collections.

McDonald, A. (2006). The ten commandments revisited: The qualities of good library space. LIBER Quarterly, 16(2).

avatar for Sheila Corrall

Sheila Corrall

Professor, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Information Culture & Data Stewardship
Sheila Corrall worked in UK public, special, and national libraries in acquisitions, cataloging, reference and information services, before moving into higher education, where she served as university librarian at two institutions and as CIO at a large research university. In 2004... Read More →

Denise Weldon-Siviy

Student, University of Pittsburgh

Friday November 7, 2014 12:45pm - 2:00pm EST
Laurens Room, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403