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General and Collection Development Resources for New School Librarians: Home

This libguide was created to assist new elementary school librarians in New York City with collection development.


 This libguide has two focuses.

The main goal of this libguide is to provide a comprehensive resource that provides general and collection development information to new elementary school librarians in New York City. This includes information about curriculum planning, purchasing, cataloging, and processing books, as well as links to fun databases/resources, book review websites and book recommendations.

The second goal of this guide is to assist new school librarians in providing diverse literature to their students. For lots of readers, finding books with diverse characters and themes can be difficult, but it is so important to put the work in to expose youth to diversity. Rudine Sims Bishop brought up a great point in his 1990 article, “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Doors” saying, “When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.” Children should be able to connect with characters and books and should be able to learn from them.

Important Things to Remember


  • Get your new libraries specs from the previous librarian. You will need these when you purchase books. You might also want to change them. 
  • You can never have enough Easy/Early Readers in your collection!!
  • Ask the previous librarian for the library's barcode prefix and the record of barcode number ranges that have already been used. If there is not a record, you can contact Library Services directly.
  • Keep a record of barcode number ranges used. Your ranges should have at least 10,000 numbers in it.
  • Keep a list of the books that you do not buy but still want in your library. If parents or outside organizations want to buy something for the library, you will have a Wishlist that you can quickly give to them. Make sure to keep to this list up-to-date so you don't receive unwanted duplicates.
  • Write everything down! Keep a record of lessons and projects so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel every year. Google Drive is a great place to store documents. I personally recommend keeping a binder.
  • Spend all of your budget! NYC DOE librarians receive $6.25 for every student that they have. All of this money should be used during the school year. It doesn't pay to "save" money because they might not think you need as much for the next year.
  • Take advantage of opportunities such as grants and book review committees. It might take up a lot of time and energy but you get "free" books!
  • One strategy for getting your new books into students' hands is to create a New Books display
  • You should always select more books than your budget allows to make up for books that are out of print/stock (Library Services suggests selecting materials worth 20% more than your budget). When submitting the book purchase order, don't forget to add a Do Not Exceed money amount (DNE). This allows you to select more books than your budget allows, but not actually spend more money than you have. 
  • The New York Public Library offers amazing resources for kids and teachers. Use them! They are free!
  • If you're a solo librarian, it is super helpful to ask for parent and student volunteers to help shelve, shelf-read, catalogue and process books. Don't forget though that it is always a good idea to shelve sometimes so that you keep abreast of your collection and what kids are checking out.

Why Should I Include Diverse Materials In My Library?

What White Children Need to Know About Race by Ali Michael and Eleonora Bartoli

This article titled It Matters If You’re Black or White: The Racism of YA Book Covers does not focus on elementary school books, but it is still a fascinating and important read about the lack of diverse representation on book covers