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Fundamentals of Managing Reference Collections


This is the essential guide to the knowledge and tools needed to successfully manage reference collections.
Fundamentals of Managing Reference Collections offers insight and best practice for designing, organizing and maintaining both tangible and virtual reference collections, no matter the size, and shows why managing without a plan is a recipe for clutter and confusion. In this very practical guide, reference librarians will learn:

  • The importance of collection development policies, and how to effectively involve others in the decision-making process
  • New strategies for selecting reference materials, both print and electronic
  • Strategies for collection maintenance, including the all-important issue of weeding
  • How to increase discovery and access
  • How to manage acquisitions, budgets and licenses.
  • This important new book will help librarians make better reference decisions, aligned to customer needs and expectations, especially significant with today's limited budgets.

Readership: Reference collections managers and reference librarians.

1. Reference collection fundamentals

  • Definitions
  • Paper or electronic resources?
  • Going mobile
  • Defining boundaries

2. Reference collection development policies

  • The parts of a collection development policy
  • Purpose of the reference collection development policy
  • Responsibility for collection development
  • Purpose of the reference collection
  • Target audience(s)
  • Budgeting and funding
  • Selection criteria
  • Selection aids
  • Preferred format
  • Duplicates
  • Preferred language(s)
  • Circulation
  • Treatment of specific resource groups
  • Resource sharing
  • Collection maintenance
  • Weeding and reviewing the collection
  • Policy revision

3. Staffing models for reference collection management

  • Centralized staffing
  • Decentralized staffing
  • Other participants in reference collection management

4. Selecting reference materials

  • Using reviews of books and online resources
  • General selection criteria
  • Selection criteria for online resources
  • Aggregated databases of reference books
  • Selection criteria for free internet resources
  • Selection criteria for print monographs
  • Selection criteria for print serials

5. Acquisitions, budgets, and licenses

  • Acquisitions
  • Budgets
  • Licenses

6. Collection maintenance

  • Maintenance of new electronic resources
  • Maintenance of existing electronic resources
  • Maintenance of new books
  • Maintenance of existing print collections
  • Marketing new reference resources
  • The print collection as a physical entity

7. Weeding the reference collection

  • Why are some librarians reluctant to weed?
  • Why weed the collection?
  • Determining the ground rules
  • Planning the review
  • Weeding the book collection as a major project
  • Performing a continuous review of the collection
  • Which method of weeding the collection is best?
  • Reviewing print reference serials
  • Weeding reference books in off-site storage
  • Reviewing the electronic reference book collection
  • Reviewing reference databases
  • Still reluctant to weed?

8. Reference collection development and consortia

  • Budgeting for reference materials
  • Selection of materials
  • Consortium-produced databases
  • Off-site storage
  • Pros and cons of working with a consortium
  • Being a good citizen of a consortium

9. Discovery and access

  • Discovering print reference sources
  • Discovering electronic reference sources
  • Identifying individual databases
  • Identifying individual titles within a larger databaseWeb-scale discovery

Appendix. Reference collection development policy template

Carol A. Singer is a reference and instruction librarian at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. One of her primary responsibilities is coordinating the development and management of the reference collection. Her research has focused on reference collections and services, as well as government publications. She is the author of many articles and the editor of Docs Prescriptions, the newsletter of the Government Documents Round Table of Ohio. Singer earned her master's degree in library science at Indiana University.

"Useful for both the novice librarian and those with many years of experience."

Serials Review

"The language is precise and lucid. It is a very useful, comprehensive, up-to date and readable book for all those charged to develop, maintain and serve reference collection in a library."

Library Herald, Delhi Library Association

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