Library Selection Criteria

Currently reading about the different criteria used by Librarians to select resources for school libraries. Came across two different (and yet quite similar) sets of criteria which I am interested in taking a further look at later on. The first is from a teacher and librarian context.


General selection criteria

  • Qualified and /or experienced author.
  • Reputable sources of information.
  • Recognised publisher/producer.
  • Information is accurate.
Physical format and technical quality:
  • Quality materials.
  • Sturdy construction.
  • Attractive presentation and clear reproduction.
  • Software is compatible with the network and must be tested before purchase.
Arrangement of material:
  • Content is easily accessible.
  • Instructions and support materials are adequate, clear, comprehensive and effective.
  • Content, language, symbols and concepts are at a suitable level for the intended user.
  • Information presented must be up-to-date.
  • Value for money.
  • May be used across a number of curriculum areas and levels.
  • Currently available to schools.
  • Readily available to schools.
  • The most suitable medium to present the subject matter. This includes paperback, hardback, big book, newspapers, magazines, audio cassettes and CDs, video cassettes, DVDs, kits, realia, games, charts, posters, slides, film, computer software, CD-ROM and online resources.
Controversial material:
  • Consider any controversial content and/or issues.
The second has been developed with a learner-centred collection in mind.
Primary considerations
Criteria Questions to consider
Is the content appropriate for my learners?
Does it match their development level? Reading level? Social development? Learning style? Ethnic or cultural background?
Will the work be of interest to my learners?
Scope What is the purpose of the work?

Is the level of detail appropriate for my learners?
Does it support the school curriculum or interests of the students?
Accuracy Is the material up-to-date and accurate?

Are opinions and biases, if they exist, acknowledged as such?
Does the creator of the work identify the sources used to create it?
Does the creator cite credible sources, including specialists or experts in the subject area?
Treatment Is the style of presentation appropriate for the subject matter and does it have appeal to my learners?

Does the creator avoid stereotypes dealing with race, gender, age, region and socioeconomic level?
Does the resource reflect our diverse society?
Arrangement and organisation Is the information arranged and organised so that students can understand it?

Is the resource organised so that students can easily locate information?
Authority What are the creator’s qualifications?

How knowledgeable is the creator about the subject?
Does the creator cite credible sources, including specialists or experts in the subject area?
Has the creator published or produced other materials on this topic?
Comparison with other works How does this work compare with others in the same genre and format or on the same subject?

How might my learners use this work?
How might my educators use it with students?
Secondary considerations
 Criteria  Questions to consider
Physical quality Do physical elements such as the clarity of images, illustrations, speech and music, the consistency of navigation icons, and the legibility of typefaces or fonts support the purpose of the work and the learning styles of my learners?
 Aesthetic quality Will the work appeal to the aesthetic tastes of my learners?
Literary merit How well does the author, illustrator or producer deal with literary components such as theme, setting, character and style?
Reputation of author, illustrator or producer Do my learners use other works by this individual and would they find this title interesting and worthwhile?
I definitely find these two sets of criteria to be interesting. Is one more useful, or better, than the other? Would it work if we sought to combine them? When I glanced through them, I found that there were aspects of each that I liked. Is it absolutely necessary for us to choose one over the other?

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