Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Collection Building, Volume 30, Issue 4
Collection development has many faces in this ever changing world where collections include print, e-resources, audio visual materials, digital archives and more. We as librarians continue to do the very best we can in developing collections that meet our users’ needs. We work both on a macro and micro level making overall judgments about what should be in our collections as a whole (such as less print and more electronic resources) and what are the best resources for some particular subject area no matter how small. Funding for library resources is an ever greater problem so librarians select carefully trying to limit duplication as much as possible and working together to provide a greater variety of resources. Trying to find the right mix is an ever challenging task.
The development of collections is often dependent on location and country development. Electronic resources have quickly permeated the world because it is so much more efficient to read an article from a journal or a newspaper online. E-books have developed more slowly due to the lack of availability of technology and also due to the needs of users. Even where libraries have large collections of e-books they do not always get used well. Users are often slower to catch up with change and to become comfortable with new technology such as e-readers. And they do not necessarily have good access to the internet when they are not in a library.
Yes, the libraries of the future and their collections will be different. But we have many years to go before the transformation some hope for will come to pass. Many libraries will continue to have robust print collections while beginning to develop e-resources and digital archives, and some libraries continue to struggle to provide the basics. From the vantage point of the US it may look fairly easy to develop largely digital libraries, but from a more global point of view the future looks quite different. This is not to say that libraries will not be changing and taking advantage of new formats and new technology. But getting from here to there may often be slow. More regional collaborative projects are needed to bring e-resources to libraries which operate on limited budgets. Continued support is needed to help all libraries provide their users with up-to-date materials no matter the format. Sharing information is a good beginning.
Kay Ann Cassell