Determining Which Titles Make the Cut in the EC Library

by Librarian Doug Ammons, MLS

Periodically (no pun intended!), I am asked how materials are selected for the EC Library. Balancing the needs of students, grades 6 -12, for non-fiction research materials, literature, popular fiction, biographies, graphic novels, as well as professional titles for staff and faculty, can be a little tricky.

The library currently offers more than 13,000 volumes in the collection including reference, non-fiction, fiction, and e-books and we subscribe to more than a dozen newspapers and popular magazines and 40 electronic databases.

There are several factors that go into putting books on our shelves. The Eastside Catholic School Library selection policy follows guidelines developed by the Catholic Schools Librarians Association of the Archdiocese of Seattle (CSLA), which, as the name implies, consists of librarians from schools in the Archdiocese. A few of the criteria outlined in our policies include relevance to our curriculum, consistency with Eastside Catholic School’s mission, currency, format and price and so forth.

Eastside Catholic students and their family members have access to our library catalog, NoodleTools, electronic databases and e-books through PlusPortals.

While the CSLA document serves as a framework for collection management, there are several resources I use for choosing titles. My favorite method is getting suggestions and recommendations from EC teachers, staff and students as well as from my colleagues in CSLA (a portion of every meeting of CSLA is devoted to recommending new titles!).

Additionally, I am fortunate to be able to attend an annual one-day workshop, “What’s New in Young Adult Literature, Grades 6-12” from which I come away with more titles than I could possibly add to our collection. I also rely on reviews in professional literature such as the School Library Journal, which provides reviews of both fiction and non-fiction titles for all age ranges.

Another great resource is Common Sense Media, a non-profit which provides detailed information on content and age appropriateness for books, film, television and other media. This is a useful resource for families as well. I encourage you to check it out! In addition, I browse publisher catalogs for worthy titles. For example, the quarterly Ignatius Press catalog for books and film on the Catholic faith.

I am always happy to answer any questions about our Library, our policies, and resources. I am normally at school Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. (earlier or later by appointment) and can be reached at 425-295-3056 during school hours or at dammons@eastsidecatholic.org. You can also find additional information on our website, including a link to our catalog.

Eastside Catholic students and their family members have access to our library catalog, NoodleTools, electronic databases and e-books through PlusPortals. To access these resources, log into PlusPortals, click on “Groups” on the top right of the page and select Library from the pulldown menu.

In the library, students have access to a range of textbooks and other materials supporting our curriculum as well as popular fiction and periodicals for casual reading in an atmosphere of engaged study. Battle of the Books Club and Mentor classes meet in the library and students are often present for quiet study. It’s also a popular place for small group talks and meetings. Don’t hesitate to check it out!

Happy Reading!

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