Virginia Public Libraries Extranet

Collection Development

Why We Do The, The Things We DoiREAD art used with permission

Children/Teens learn in different ways and are attracted to new ideas in different ways.  They need to be exposed to many points of view and a wide variety of formats.  Information needs to be available, reliable, and we need to meet their needs with books, magazines, computer software, internet sites, CDs, DVDs, audio books and other formats that may be developed.


Disclaimer – The first and most important thing to do is to learn your library’s procedures for selecting and ordering materials.  If a Collection Development policy exists, you, of course, will follow it.  Talk with your supervisor about who is responsible for selecting, ordering and weeding the library’s collections.  Each library system has a specific procedure for collection development.  You may not be able to have control over all aspects of collection development, but you can still affect how your collection is managed by developing relationships with the departments and people in charge.  Explain what your needs are, and listen when they explain their needs.  Find ways to make it work for both of you.

Building a collection takes time and planning.  Many reputable professional journals, organizations, and individuals have put together lists of books and other materials, which they recommend for purchase in most libraries.  These lists are a good place to start.  Check to see what books and other materials you already own.  As you go through the lists, you will become familiar with authors and titles that are standards in children’s/teen collections.  No library has every book on all of these lists.  Choose from them the titles you can afford, that you hear requests for from your community, and that fit collection development criteria.


There are many tools available, in print and online to help make selections for your library. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, but to provide a list of those resources most used in the profession and those unique to the Commonwealth of Virginia.  You might want to add any others you come across in your work.  New bibliographies are published each year and new awards are created regularly.

  • Children’s Core Collection – available in print or on-line and reviews materials for preschool to 6th grade
  • Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog – available in print or online and reviews materials for students in 5th to 9th grade.
  • Senior High Core Collection – available in print or online and reviews materials for students in 9th to 12th grade.
  • New York Times Parent’s Guide to the Best Books for Children by Eden Ross Lipson
  • Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
  • Booklists – this magazine provides monthly reviews of print and nonprint materials for public libraries.
  • VOYA – this magazine reviews print and nonprint materials for tweens and teens
  • School Library Journal – this magazine provided reviews of print and nonprint materials for schools



  • Recommended magazines for children are listed in the Children’s Core Collection by subject.  You may ask the publisher for a review copy.
  • Based on Children’s and Youth Services Staff Handbook by George Public Library Services – used with permission

Needs Some More Review Sources


  • The Book Hive  look at to find a book or Zinger Booklist
  • Book Spot
  • – contains a list of books in Spanish – click on Month and then “Actividades mensuales”

Readers Advisory Booklists

  • YALSA  click on “awards and grants” under book and media awards click on “Children & Young Adult”
  • Capital Choices Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
  • Jefferson Cup scroll down and click on Jefferson Cup The Jefferson Cup honors a distinguished biography, historical fiction or American history book for young people.



  • Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management 2nd edition by Peggy Johnson
  • Bienvenidos! Welcome! a Handy Resource Guide for Marketing Your Library to Latinos by Susannah Mississippi Byrd

submitted 2/2010 by Enid Costley

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