Collection Development Policy
For the database that powers TeachingBooks and Book Connections.
I. Mission Statement
The TeachingBooks mission is to equitably give all readers insights and opportunities that deepen their understanding and joy of the books they are reading.
II. Collection Definition
Sometimes referred to as a digital library, the database compiled and maintained by TeachingBooks is a collection of authoritative online resources about books and book creators that are of interest to children and young adults. This collection includes originally produced materials, as well as professionally vetted online resources created by others.
III. Community Profile
The TeachingBooks database is designed for anyone who uses books with children and teens in an educational context, including educators in public, charter, private, and independent schools; homeschooling environments; higher education institutions; and public libraries.
IV. Collection Goals
The primary goal of the collection is to help readers think in new ways about the books they are reading and the people who created them.
Taken as a whole, the TeachingBooks collection strives to offer relevant and engaging materials that support:
- informed discussions about books in all facets of PreK–12+ school life
- the teaching of specific books used in PreK–12+ schools
- integration of books across the curriculum, throughout the PreK–12+ school environment
- the use of reading lists and programs
- the engagement of PreK–12+ students' interest
- the use of books that represent a diverse range of histories, cultures, experiences, and perspectives from groups that have often been excluded, misrepresented, or underrepresented in mainstream book publishing
TeachingBooks works to be of relevance to educators in subjects across the curricula. The collection includes resources used for instructional purposes and supporting enrichment through independent reading.
V. Selection Responsibility
The Collection Development Policy is managed by the TeachingBooks Collection Development Manager. The Collection Development Manager is a librarian who holds an ALA-accredited graduate degree and is charged with applying collection development theory and practice–including the principles of intellectual freedom–to developing a well-rounded collection.
A team of professional librarians at TeachingBooks approves materials for the collection in accordance with this policy.
VI. Selection Criteria
VI. A. Scope of the Collection
The TeachingBooks collection includes high-quality materials about authors, illustrators, and trade books for children and young adults that are likely to be used in classrooms and found in libraries serving PreK–12+ youth.
Resources are included in the collection based on their potential use by PreK–12+ educators, university instructors, and public librarians for research, planning, and use with their students/readers.
Most of the resources are presented in English. Based on availability, the collection also includes some resources in Spanish, French, and other languages.
The collection is built around books for children and teen readers, including adult crossover books that have appeal to young adults, and is comprised of resources about those books and their creators. The Content Team makes collection development decisions regarding which PreK–12+ titles are included in the database based on the availability of associated resources relevant to educational settings or the PreK–12+ audience.
TeachingBooks gives strong consideration to the availability of titles within the United States and Canadian markets.
TeachingBooks features not covered by this policy include sidebar games & activities, text complexity measures, publisher book descriptions, and Google preview images.
VI. B. Categories of Resources
TeachingBooks creates and/or collects online resources that fall into three broad categories: resources about authors/illustrators, resources about books, and lists of books and book creators.
Author/Illustrator resources include, but are not limited to:
- interviews, essays, and speeches (in video, audio, or text formats) name pronunciations
- personal websites
Book resources include, but are not limited to:
- lesson plans, discussion questions, and activities
- audio and video readings of books (either excerpts or full-length)
- video book trailers
- official websites about books or series
- websites for adaptations based on books or series
- vocabulary lists
- book annotations
Lists of books and book creators include, but are not limited to:
- international, national, regional, and state awards
- state-wide recommended reading lists
- lists on a theme or curricular topic
Examples of resources that do not fit into the above categories and thus are not included in the collection are e-books, book reviews, and short promotional blurbs about authors/illustrators.
VI. C. Originally Produced Resources
TeachingBooks original productions include Guest Blog Posts, Meet-the-Author Book Recordings, and Meet-the-Author Movies. The authors/illustrators TeachingBooks chooses to collaborate with are selected with the goal of representing a wide cross-section of books and book creators. When considering potential opportunities, the following criteria are considered:
- potential or actual use of creator's books in classrooms, library activities, literacy programs, or educational courses
- demographic diversity (such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, ability, geographic location, and sexual orientation)
- subject area expertise
- grade level ranges
- award recognitions
- publisher relationships
- customer requests
In addition to the original TeachingBooks productions noted above, TeachingBooks offers a system for book creators to share recordings of how to pronounce their name. Audio Name Pronunciations are accepted from authors and illustrators who have published one or more trade books that meet our selection criteria.
VI. D. Non-Originally Produced Materials
Members of the TeachingBooks Content Department, under the direction of the Collection Development Manager, ensure that each resource fits within the scope of the collection as outlined in VI.A. above. They also ensure that an electronic resource meets the following criteria.
Alignment with the TeachingBooks Mission TeachingBooks mission to deepen a reader’s understanding and joy of the books they are reading is supported by curating resources that:
- provide information about the background of the book’s creation by the author or illustrator
- encourage the reader to think about the text or illustrations in a new way
- open discussions about a variety of cultural and individual experiences support the use of books in learning environments
VI. D.1. Format and Technical Integrity
As with any library, the quality of the available resources varies.
Ideally, resources are well designed and have minimal commercial distractions. If the content of a resource is deemed potentially useful to an educator, any potential negative aspects of that resource (e.g. advertising, quality of design) will be weighed against its potential usefulness in determining whether to include it in the database. Resource files uploaded to our server must be formatted for commonly used file viewers or players or have a conversion path to change into a standard format.
TeachingBooks links to many resources which are not hosted on our own servers and therefore cannot control the availability of these links. If the hosting party removes the resource, TeachingBooks staff will remove the link from the database as quickly as possible.
VI. D.2. Creators' Authority and Reliability
The creators of the resources are evaluated for their authority and reliability. Creators of the resources in the database can include:
- the publisher, author, or illustrator of a specific book
- educational and library-centered entities and organizations
- individuals or entities with a background in children's literature, young adult literature, education, librarianship, and/or reading/literacy
- subject-matter experts
- media outlets
VI. D.3. Unfettered Access
All resources to which TeachingBooks links must be automatically available for anyone using the TeachingBooks website and not require additional registrations or fees.
For resources on TeachingBooks that are not publicly available, TeachingBooks arranges for open access for our subscribers through permission from copyright holders.
VI. D.4. Accessibility
TeachingBooks strives to make the resources within its control accessible. However, the Content Department is not able to evaluate or guarantee the accessibility of resources created and controlled by third parties. In selecting resources, members of the Content Department give preference to those that adhere to accessibility best practices, for example, offering audio content in an alternate format such as a transcript. However, due to the limited availability of accessible materials, TeachingBooks may include materials in its collection which do not meet the highest accessibility standards.
Resources are weeded under the following circumstances:
- Duplicated: To respect customers' time by presenting only meaningful choices, TeachingBooks may remove items that offer very similar content to other items. In this case, members of the Content Department give preference to keeping resources deemed most accessible, authoritative, current, useful, or appealing.
- Outdated: If TeachingBooks becomes aware of a resource that is no longer as potentially useful as initially deemed, TeachingBooks may remove the resource.
VIII. Intellectual Freedom
This Collection Development Policy reflects the philosophy and goals of TeachingBooks and supports the principles of intellectual freedom described in the Library Bill of Rights and other position statements on intellectual freedom from the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).
Every resource in the database has been selected based on its potential to deepen a reader’s understanding and enjoyment of a book. TeachingBooks includes a wide variety of resources, knowing that the right resource for one person is not necessarily right for another. Individuals are encouraged to decide for themselves which resource will be most useful for their purposes. There is something here for everyone, even if not everything is for everyone.
Although PreK–12+ students are not the primary audience of TeachingBooks, we hope that educators will share TeachingBooks resources they deem useful with children and teens. As with any educational resource, TeachingBooks assumes educators will evaluate all materials before sharing them with youth.
Filtering software contradicts TeachingBooks's perspective that life-long learning and information literacy are best served by educating students to think critically so that they can be their own filters.
Useful intellectual freedom resources that TeachingBooks consults include:
- Cooperative Children's Book Center webpage on Intellectual Freedom (accessed 2/8/22): https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/intellectual-freedom-2/
- American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (accessed 2/8/22): http://www.ala.org/offices/oif
IX. Reconsideration Procedure
TeachingBooks users have the right to request that TeachingBooks reconsider the inclusion of a resource (or resources by a single creator/resource producer). To do this, the following steps should be taken:
- Customer reviews the resource–both content and context.
- Customer contacts TeachingBooks Founder & Head with inquiry via an email to info@TeachingBooks
- In consultation with TeachingBooks Collection Development Manager, TeachingBooks Founder & Head begins discussion (via email or phone) with customer to open up a dialogue about the concern.
- If the concern remains, customer completes the TeachingBooks Reconsideration Form, which is available upon request.
- The TeachingBooks Founder & Head reviews the completed Reconsideration Form, the resource, and the Collection Development Policy.
- The creators of the resource might be contacted, if appropriate. The Founder & Head convenes and chairs a Reconsideration Committee, which includes the Collection Development Manager and the Director of Implementation & Educational Support. The Reconsideration Committee evaluates the details on the submitted Reconsideration Form, as well as other professional materials, which could include reviews, awards, and other information about the resource and its educational significance. The committee may also invite professionals from a related field to provide input. Ultimately, the Reconsideration Committee decides whether or not to remove the resource from the collection, and documents their reasoning for this decision.
- The TeachingBooks Founder & Head communicates a final decision to the customer within six to eight weeks of receipt of the Reconsideration Form.
- An email (without personally identifiable information about the customer, book, or online resource) is sent to the License Coordinator in charge of the license through which the customer accessed TeachingBooks. The purpose of the email is to let the License Coordinator know that TeachingBooks addressed concerns that were raised from someone accessing the TeachingBooks database under their license.
X. Policy Review and Revision
This Collection Development Policy and its associated procedures are reviewed, revised, and approved by TeachingBooks’s professional librarians and leadership on a biennial basis whenever possible–most recently in the winter of 2022.