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International Journal of Libraries and Information Studies

Editor-in-Chief: Albright, Kendra S. / Bothma, Theo J.D.

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Volume 56, Issue 2


Community Consultation and Collection Development Policies in Medium-Sized New Zealand Public Libraries

Sarah Osborne / G. E. Gorman
Published Online: 2007-12-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LIBR.2006.73

This study considers how selected New Zealand public libraries engage in public consultation as part of collection development policy formulation by investigating the consultative methods used by a sample of library managers during the formulation and application of their collection development policies. Five public libraries in the North Island of New Zealand participated in the investigation. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with each of the study participants. The collection development policy documents from each library provided additional sources of data. The data were analysed according to a set of coding themes developed for the project. The results indicate that New Zealand public libraries practising responsive collection management demonstrate the following characteristics: (1) the collection development policy has been formulated as a result of research into client needs and wants; (2) this research uses a variety of community consultation and data analysis techniques; and (3) research into community and customer needs is ongoing. The investigation also shows that managers employ a limited range of consultation techniques, which needs to be broadened in order to collect more robust data about client and community needs. Furthermore, public library collection development policies, where they actually exist, are dated, outmoded and little used. The study suggests that public library managers should make greater use of library surveys and focus groups as a means of collecting consultative data from their clients. It also suggests that managers can create more robust, consultation-based collection development policies using community needs analysis techniques as an integral part of the process.

About the article

Principal author: Sarah Osborne, District Librarian, Otorohanga District Council, PO Box 11, Otorohanga, New Zealand. E-mail: .

Corresponding author: Professor G E Gorman, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand, E-mail: .

Received: 2006-04-18

Received: 2006-05-29

Accepted: 2006-05-31

Published Online: 2007-12-10

Published in Print: 2006-07-04

Citation Information: Libri, Volume 56, Issue 2, Pages 73–82, ISSN (Print) 0024-2667, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LIBR.2006.73.

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