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2. Selection Policy

One of my responsibilities is to manage the library budget, which is designed to cover the library software subscription, supplies of all sorts (for example, to process new books), and, above all, as many books as we can afford.

Developing a well-rounded collection takes time and needs constant managing. It's easy to look at a book that has been so popular that it's falling apart and say that it needs to be weeded out and replaced. It's pretty obvious that titles about the Soviet Union, plans to go to the moon, and descriptions of early computers need to be updated. It's not so easy to look at the Young Adult section of the public library and know which of them will work for our school.

I'm using Titlewave by Follett for most purchases because of the extra services they offer. They offer rebound copies of very popular books and guarantee to replace them free if necessary due to wear.  Another valuable tool is their Collection Analysis, where they evaluate our library to see which titles are out of date and which categories are out of balance in a collection our size. I find Follett's cataloging very thorough and helpful as I work to keep our own catalog accurate and very searchable. Increasingly, I'm checking their site for Accelerated Reader level and Dewey Decimal numbers as I keep our database up to date.

I find Amazon's website very helpful, too. They include reviews from library periodicals as well as from individuals who have read the books. It's handy for finding out the other books in a series and is a valuable resource for finding titles to fill a very specific need. I can also go through Amazon to used book stores for items that are out of print.

It's important that the books we offer to the students reflect our views as Catholics in addition to supporting the curriculum and encouraging a love of reading. Books need to be chosen to match the different stages of development of our students, sometimes necessitating three different levels for the same topic. I make use of approved lists like the California Young Reader Medal selections and other medal winners; I talk frequently to our teachers and other librarians about their recommendations; and I read constantly. I want to know what's in all these treasures that I guard!