Scope of Collection

The scope of a library's collection should depend on who it is serving. For example, it is appropriate for a university library to have a collection geared toward the needs of experts in a subject field for which the university has a major or a graduate program. Children's materials that give the most basic explanation of the subject matter would normally not be appropriate.

An elementary school library, on the other hand, will not need to have expert level materials written for adults.

Public libraries must try to determine the expertise level of likely users of the collection, although smaller or medium size libraries normally will not have many materials at the expert level. And if they do have some materials at this level, their collection will normally not be as broad-based as university library.

Moreover, the scope of the collection may vary from subject area to subject area.  Some libraries may have especially strong collections in some subjects, while they have more basic collections in other subject areas.  These differences will depend on the needs of the community, and they should be explained in the collection development policy.

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