Library Works to Maintain Dynamic Collection

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As a popular materials library serving the residents of the City of Salem, the core function of the collection is to serve as the community's bookshelf. The library's collection is carefully and constantly curated using industry-standard best practices and the expertise of professional library staff to meet the informational and recreational needs of the Salem community.

With the adoption of the Collection Development Policy and the upcoming renovation of the library building, a comprehensive review of the collection is underway during 2018-2019. This will ensure the library's dynamic collections match the vision and scope set forth in the policy and are comprised of current materials in good condition and in demand by the Salem community.

What is the focus of the Salem Public Library collection?

As a popular materials library serving the residents of the City of Salem, the core function of the collection is to serve as the community's bookshelf and keep it up to date with relevant, timely, and popular choices as defined by the Salem community. Our mission is to serve the general reader and to meet their informational, educational, and recreational needs. Popular materials are at the core of a modern public library collection. This dynamic collection consists of in-demand classic and contemporary works and up-to-date, relevant, and accurate materials in a range of modern formats. Salem Public Library is also home to a significant local history special collection focused on items important to the region's history (the Hugh Morrow collection).

What is the library adding?

The library adds approximately 33,000 new physical items every year including replacements for damaged materials. Search new items by category on the Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service website.

Shelves of books in the new material section at the Salem Public Library.

​What if I'm not finding what I'm looking for on the shelf?

Let us know! You can check the catalog online. Please see the Ask Here desk or call the library for assistance locating materials. If an item is not available within our consortium, it may be available from another library through Interlibrary Loan. You can also submit a Purchase Suggestion form at any time.

How is the collection managed?

The library's collection is carefully and constantly curated using industry-standard best practices and the expertise of professional library staff. The library also solicits input from a variety of stakeholders via purchase suggestion forms, comment cards, community surveys, and in-person conversations to evaluate community and collection needs.

Collection maintenance helps create a vibrant, appealing collection that meets the community's needs. It frees up shelf space for the constant arrival of the new materials -- more than 33,000 items are added annually. It makes shelves easier to browse, makes items more accessible, and identifies areas that need updating or replacement of items in poor condition. It ensures the collection is in excellent shape for the upcoming renovation project, during which time our everyday maintenance may be disrupted.

This work relies on the judgment of professional selectors. They use industry-standard tools and national best practices for data-driven decision making. These tools help identify types of materials such as:

  • outdated information in areas of rapid change such as medicine, law, and technology
  • items that are no longer being used
  • non-current editions
  • excess copies of previous bestsellers
  • items in poor condition

All materials are reviewed by the selector assigned to that area of the collection in order to assess replacement and mending needs.

What tools do you use to make collection-related decisions?

The library uses industry-standard tools in addition to the framework set forth in the library's Collection Development Policy. These tools include:

  • The CREW manual (provides criteria regarding condition, use, and currency of content for specific areas of the collection)
  • CollectionHQ (generates data including last circulation date, over and understocked subject areas, and turnover rates)
  • Orange Boy community survey data from 2012 and 2018 (community analysis and survey of library use)
  • Federal data provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, state data provided by the State Library of Oregon and other national data from industry groups such as the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association.

What happens with materials after they've been deselected?

Withdrawn items are offered to the Friends of the Salem Public Library for resale. Proceeds from these sales benefit the library's collections and programs. Any badly damaged items are recycled.

Friends of Salem Public Library bookstore.

Friends of the Salem Public Library bookstore.

​What will I see during the comprehensive collection review?

You may notice shelves looking more empty than usual while materials are being evaluated, replacements are being ordered, and items are being shifted. Items will become more accessible as they are moved down from top shelves and overfull collections get more room. We apologize for any inconvenience— staff are always ready to help!

When is the comprehensive collection review happening?

Collection maintenance is a continual process that is done year-round. The current comprehensive review of the collection has an estimated timeline of October 2018-April 2019.

How was the Collection Development Policy built?

Collection development policies are used to guide selection and deselection of library materials. Salem Public Library's Collection Development Policy was created by the Collection Development Committee. The committee reviewed the library's strategic plan, policies from other public libraries, and established professional standards from local and national library organizations, including the Oregon Library Association's Public Library Division, the American Library Association, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. The policy was sent to staff for review and feedback before being routed to the Library's Leadership Team and the Community Development Director. Finally, the policy was vetted and approved by the Library Advisory Board and presented to City Council.

How can I get involved with the library?

There are many opportunities to get involved. Apply to serve on the Library Advisory Board or attend a meeting. You can also volunteer for the library, the Friends of Salem Public Library or the Salem Public Library Foundation. Feel free to contact the library with any further questions.