Library collection development is the process of planning and acquiring a library materials. It happens over a period of years and is based on ongoing assessment of the information needs of the library's users. Acquisition of materials for the library is the basic foundation for collection development.
In view of the huge financial requirement for collection development, Shad (1992) outlines a seven part agenda for rethinking priorities for the acquisition of materials to the library. These agenda are planning, allocating, faculty laison, cooperative collection development, evaluating, acquisition alternatives and selection efficiency. The agenda is geared towards responding to the overriding issue of the changing philosophy from ownership to access.
Collection development in the university library is focused on the literature and information needs of the university community. Specifically, the library aims to provide from within its own resources, the literature and information resources to support undergraduate and postgraduate studies and the research activities of the university. Emphasis is placed on the selection of broad based research materials of multidisciplinary interest, including official publication, standards and statistics. The primary selection criteria of any information resource are the value and relevance of the content.
Bloomfied (1988) described what are considered the major issues in library collection development. These are; identifying with the mission of the parent institution, formulating appropriate library policies and measures for the implementation of collection policy statement, the division of the budget and the resulting problems, monitoring various collection development strategies and resource sharing among sister institutions. This is based on the fact that libraries usually didn't have sufficient funds. This necessitates the need to manage effectively available fund for the growth of library collection.
Gyeszly (1990), Harrel (1990) and Smith (1990) compared statistically the library collections and its growth for sterling C. Evans library, Texas A & M University. They relate the number of students in the university, faculty life, materials and available fund to the growth of the collection. Libraries that are actively involved in the development of the collection are in a dilemma with increasing in the price of library materials in this period of global economic meltdown. In such situation, collection development policy must be carefully written and reviewed to address the needs of different department of the university. Unfortunately many libraries don't operate with any policy. Kelly (1991) drew attention to the funding patterns in academic libraries and library funding methods. Over the years, available funds for collection development has been dwindling, hence the need for librarians to develop alternative collection development strategies other than direct purchase from vendors. Soliciting for donations, involving in gifts and exchanges are possible ways of developing the collections. Coupled with this, is the need for Librarians to have clearly established collection development policy.
Cabytey- Adodoadgi (1998) on the development of libraries, concentrated on a developing country like Ghana. He asserted that the poor and imbalanced collection is due to the inability of the librarians to operate a clearly established policy. He said further, that the idea is to have a collection development policy which will be based on key factors such as library budget, selectivity, users needs assessment and development.
Lundu (1989) and Lungu (1989) noted that, the fundamental problem in relation to the acquisition of scientific literature in Zambia was the absence of clear collection development policy. Apart from the University of Zambia Library, other libraries in the country lack clear collection development policy. The need for the development of library collection is closely related to the operation of a well established policy
Collection development is the ultimate responsibility of the university librarians. They have to ensure the availability of proper and balanced collection that meets the needs of the university. In this regard, the professional librarians have the responsibility of planning and monitoring the growth of the collections and to provide resources that support the mission of the university.
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