Competency F - Statement and Evidence

  Portfolio of Cathleen Elizabeth Ash

use the basic concepts and principles related to the creation, evaluation, selection, acquisition, preservation and organization of specific items or collections of information;

The mission of the library drives acquisition. The budget tends to hinder it. A number of judgments are made during any selection and evaluation process: is this something the users need (or will utilize)? is it something the library can afford? is the cost in keeping with the budget and the use that will be gained from having the item? Once these questions are addressed, the item might be purchased. If it is, a new set of judgments begins: where can the item be placed so it is most used? how should it be cataloged so it can be found via a variety of search methods? It might sound daunting to address each and every one of these questions every time a new item is needed or considered for addition to the collection, however, a collection development policy, steered by a clear mission statement, alleviates the need to constantly review these questions - the answers are already in place if a policy is on hand.

The policy addresses not only questions of worth to the library and its users, but also the detailed steps involved in acquiring and placing the item on a shelf or spot in the library where it is most readily accessed. Preservation is a key factor, especially when purchasing paperback books. While the price is right (most paperbacks run from $5 to $20), the use gained from them is much less than a hard-cover book. To assist in preserving the item for as long as possible, it is worth either additional processing to have the paperback "covered" (typically around $2) or to cover it in-house (Kapko and Demco both offer products at reasonable prices to do this).

As a high school librarian, I am unaware of the quality of many of the Dewey (non-fiction) curriculum-supporting books, videos, and other resources. I must rely on reviews, faculty assistance and requests, and past experience. The Horn Book, School Library Journal and a number of other review sources are a must when determining the worth and quality of a specific item for addition to the library, but past experience with a specific publisher or type (series) of book is also helpful. For example, I have found the Culture of the World series to be a fantastic, easy-to-access set of books that our tenth graders use well; when seeking other sources, I look first to the publisher of that series to see if they offer anything on the new topic. On the other hand, I have found Facts on File publications to be less accessible to the younger high school students, but a great resource for our stronger readers. This means I will order Facts on File books for Junior or Senior projects and curriculum, but am less likely to do so for the lower grades.

Teachers and curriculum are not the only items stressed in a high school library - so, too are "books for fun." In the hopes of instilling a love of a reading (or less hate, in some cases) it is important to stay on top of YA fiction, and, more recently, anime. Students are a great resource for help in choosing the hot, new titles, and a suggestion box for new titles is a must in any library! The suggestion box in place in our library has been used more and more as students realize we actually purchase their requests, notifying them when they come in so that the requestor is the first to check out the new book or item. Three years ago, I began working closely with the Anime group. At that time, we had no Anime titles on our shelves. In the hopes of creating a new collection that would meet a number of our users needs, I requested the Anime Group on campus provide me with a list of titles to purchase. I secured additional funding (through our PTSA) specifically for this purpose. When the titles had been ordered (30 new books), the Anime Group leaders and myself arranged an "Anime Party" where the books were released to the public, after much fanfare (movie, popcorn, prizes!). It was a huge success and has become an annual event. To date, our Anime collection contains over 300 titles.

Information, itself, too, must be organized. The spreadsheet (see Quotes Database) is a great example of all of the principles mentioned above. I created it class-by-class during my tenure at San Jose State University. I evaluated my readings as I went, selecting and acquiring quotes I thought would not only serve me well during the class I was taking, but throughout my career as a librarian. I preserved these quotes in Excel, including relevant information (APA citation) as needed. Once I had taken a few classes, and gone back to view quotes from prior classes, I realized I needed a better organizational scheme for the information. I placed all class spreadsheets into a single file so they were easily found. In order to make the information more accessible, I also created a "master spreadsheet" at the beginning of the file that contained all classes' quotes. The final result is organized with the first sheet (3,000+ quotes from all classes) and then additional sheets referencing only the quotes from each class.

List of Evidence for Competency F:
Collection Development Policy Group Policy Manual addressing collection development
Cataloging Final Project Link removed March 2009 - Project still in use. Ten collection items arranged in Dewey order. Also included are ten MARC records "made-from-scratch." Any successes in completing the MARC records are due to the great teachings of Dr. Ellett. Any mistakes are mine!
Quotes Database An Excel spreadsheet with quotes from all readings (all classes) over the course of my degree.
Science Annotations A review of curriculum books for science and also review sources for curriculum books.