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Selection criteria for mobile library collections

Glenn Davidson (Whangarei Libraries, Whangarei, New Zealand)
Dan Dorner (School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 17 April 2009



The purpose of this paper is to discover the criteria upon which selection decisions are made in six mobile libraries in New Zealand.


In this qualitative study data were gathered from interviews with six mobile librarians. The study is guided conceptually by the perceived need for a collection development policy and a selection procedures statement to guide selection, and the needs versus wants debate.


The data suggest that there is no universal approach to the selection of material for mobile library collections; mobile librarians achieve a balance between users' needs and wants to some extent when selecting; and there is no relationship between the nature of mobile library services and the serving of needs and wants. The researchers contend that mobile librarians' selection decisions are influenced by various criteria other than users' needs or users' wants.

Research limitations/implications

This qualitative research is based on the analysis of the selection practices of six mobile librarians in New Zealand. Future research might seek to replicate this study's methodology using a larger population or investigate the lack of emphasis on reference services on some mobile libraries or the management of fixed, floating, and integrated mobile library collections.


Only a slight amount of literature exists about the selection of mobile library collections. This study will be of interest to mobile librarians in New Zealand and elsewhere who wish to obtain a better understanding of current selection practices. It will also act as guiding literature to help mobile librarians to make better informed selection decisions.



Davidson, G. and Dorner, D. (2009), "Selection criteria for mobile library collections", Collection Building, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 51-58.



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