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Tools of the trade: School library media specialists, reviews, and collection development

Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Publication Date
  • Book Reviewing
  • School Media Library Specialists
  • School Libraries
  • Collection Development


How many times might you peer into a school library media center in a school building in the United States and see this picture? A school library media specialist sits at a library table in a darkened building late in the afternoon looking at what seems to be an oversized, overwhelming jigsaw puzzle. Six thousand of the pieces represent the approximate number of children's books published annually, 4,000 small pieces represent the number of dollars allotted to purchase books for the year, and 500 pieces of more prominent size and shape represent the number of students and staff served by the school library media collection. Off to the side of the table is a small box into which all the puzzle pieces must fit, representing the average cost of children's books, now hovering near the $15 mark. Did you recognize me at the table? Although the number of pieces may vary greatly, this puzzle is a visual image of the collection development dilemma faced by all school library media specialists every year.

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