Collection Development at the Asturias Academy


By Kerry Purvis

The 2015 Librarians Without Borders Collection Development team did some great work at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy this year! This year the project focused on cataloging newly purchased books, reclassifying teacher resource materials, and mending damaged books. All five team members received training on the cataloging system prior to the trip and put the training to use on site.

Before arriving at the Asturias Academy the team stopped by the Piedra Santa publishing company in Guatemala City where they purchased 19 books to add to the library’s collection, and where trip participants purchased additional books individually to donate. The team added a total of 56 new books to the collection.

The team was responsible for classifying the books, adding a call number and adding stickers to the books to explain their reading level and genre. They referred to a Spanish Dewey list when adding call numbers. The school’s books are cataloged by Dewey subjects only and they do not go past the decimal point. After assigning a call number they began by dividing the books into three reading levels, beginner, intermediate, and advanced.The team then selected the genre of the book, assigned the book a reading level, and added color-coded labels. Once the book had a call number and its labels the team then referred the school’s master inventory of 4,851 items to see if there was already a copy of the book in the collection. The school’s librarian Dorita maintains the entire catalog in an Excel spreadsheet. Following that the team then wrote on the back of the cover the reading level (P, I, A), call number, first three letters of the author or editor, and copy number if there was more than one copy.

The team took on several side projects as well. Some of the books were translated into Spanish to make them bilingual books. These were pictures books that had plenty of space to add additional English text. The team also reclassified teacher resource materials, which had been in a separate category. The category was eliminated and and reclassified as advanced books.

A future goal of the collection development team is to help the library create a collection development policy.

Click below to see Alexandra Ferguson talks about Asturias Collection Development



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