Developing an Outstanding Core Collection: A Guide for Libraries, Second Edition

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

In this practical handbook, newly updated for 2010, Carol Alabaster focuses on developing a collection with high-quality materials while saving time and money. She addresses key collection development questions, including

  • What criteria are used to identify a core title?
  • What is the process for making selections?
  • How is a collection maintained and improved?
  • How are core titles tracked in the library's acquisition and circulation systems?

Packed with selection resources and sample core lists in seven subject areas, this soup-to-nuts manual will be useful whether you are starting from scratch or revitalizing an existing collection.

Preface to the First Edition

Preface to the Second Edition

1 | The Philosophy of Adult Core Collections
2 | Developing a Core Collection Policy Statement
3 | Selecting a Core Collection
4 | Creating and Maintaining Core Collections
5 | Implementing the Core Collection
6 | Core Selection Resources and Works Cited
7 | Sample Core Lists with Selection Criteria and Sources


Carol Alabaster

Carol Alabaster has more than thirty years of library experience working for both the New York Public Library and the Phoenix Public Library systems. In the Phoenix system, she worked as Collection Development Coordinator, Branch Manager, and Fiction Librarian. Before that, she served as Young Adult Senior Librarian and Adult Services Librarian for the New York Public Library. In addition to writing a weekly book review for the Arizona Republic, she was a National Book Award judge in 1982. Alabaster earned her master's degree in library science from St. John's University in New York.

"For those librarians who believe that quality books, enduring books, great books are still the heart and soul of the library, Carol Alabaster's Developing an Outstanding Core Collection will come as something of a tonic... Altogether, this is a book that should be useful to many libraries, both public and academic."
—Technical Services Quarterly

"Unlike too many professional works that seem to target only large or small libraries, this book speaks to libraries of all sizes, and the author does her best to be inclusive... For those that choose to create and implement such a collection, Alabaster's outstanding work should serve as an important aid in the process."
—Reference & User Services Quarterly

"Alabaster has many criteria for core books, but key among them is that 'a core title must be well written and accurate but still lively enough to hold readers' interest.' By that definition, Alabaster's own book definitely belongs in a core collection."

"This timely update of Alabaster's excellent 2002 book provides a thorough explanation of what core collections are and why your library might want to establish them ... Whether your library is one building, or incorporates several branches with floating collections, the principles are accessible and can be adapted to your particular situation."
--Public Libraries