4.1 Developing a collection policy

Every resource centre needs a collection policy to ensure that:

  • the collection is useful for the people who use the resource centre
  • financial and other resources are used well
  • the collection does not duplicate other collections that are accessible to users.

Developing the collection policy is the responsibility of the resource centre officer. However, the policy needs to be developed in consultation with the resource centre officer’s manager or supervisor and the resource centre advisory committee (if there is one) and/or other users. The policy needs to be reviewed and updated about every two years.

4.1.1 How to develop a collection policy

Start by looking at the overall aims of the resource centre and the needs of existing and potential users (see Section 1.1). Write down the subject areas that are most important. Write down other relevant subject areas. Write down what format of materials and reading level is required for different users of the resource centre. Ask the resource centre advisory committee (if there is one) to help you with all this.

Identify other resource centres that have collections on these subject areas, and consider whether users have access to them. If not, consider whether you can establish a good relationship with any of these resource centres, which might include supplying or lending materials.

Decide and write down how long particular materials should be kept, including issues of periodicals, and when to weed out (remove) materials that should no longer be kept.

This information forms the collection policy. Use the collection policy to help you decide which materials to add to the collection and which to remove.