Collection Development Guidelines

Ohio Digital Library member libraries should be knowledgeable about what is available and in demand in the Ohio Digital Library collection. Libraries should be aware of the guidelines below developed by the Collection Development Committee when purchasing material.

These guidelines for collection development and ordering are in place to help the consortium build a dynamic collection that meets the needs of library users. As the number of libraries involved with selecting and ordering material increases libraries need to be more aware of the how the collection is comprised and used.

The collection development committee recommends the following goals to assist the group in meeting patron demand:

Goal: Recommended maximum hold ratio on items is 4 (5 for audiobooks).

Goal: Lower the average wait period from 18 days to 14 days.

Actions that will help the group meet this goal are:

  • Purchase items in demand, both high and low hold ratio
  • Lower the recommended hold ratio to 4
  • Utilizing holds manager to fill holds
  • Purchase multiple copies of popular materials during the initial purchase if possible
  • Order regularly

These guidelines are developed to help libraries meet the consortium’s collection development goals of building a dynamic collection that meets the needs of its users.

Order Regularly

Distributing spending throughout the year allows your library the flexibility to respond to demand and patron requests more easily.

  • Evenly distribute spending throughout the year
    • Signup on the ordering schedule (below)
  • Integrate digital ordering into your regular print ordering process
    • When you order print, also order digital titles

Respond to Patron Demand

  • Purchase materials that are:
    • In high demand, for example: the hold ratio is above 5
    • Purchase materials that may have only a few holds.
      • Many materials only have 1-2 holds on 1-2 copies of material.
      • By purchasing additional copies of these items with fewer holds will allow more of the collection to be readily available.
  • Examine reports and statistics for trends in use (note that books can contain multiple subjects and often a circulation is counted multiple times)
    • Turnover Rate Charts
      • The number of checkouts divided by the number of copies owned
      • The turnover rate is the average number of checkouts per copy
      • What is high circulating, but only a few copies/titles?
    • Activity Charts (by Subject)
      • See what subjects (or other sort) circulate the most
    • View Title Statistics
      • View the top 100 Subjects by checkout for a specific time period
    • Holds/Current Waiting List
    • View the “Reports” section of this document for more information about reports in OverDrive Marketplace.

Add New Content

  • When adding new content that is most likely going to be very popular consider purchasing multiple copies to start (if possible)
    • Also post your purchase of new material to the listserv so other libraries know that it has been added to the collection and can also purchase additional copies
  • Focus on popular material:
    • Check the bestseller lists
    • Classics (if we don’t already own them)
    • Award winners/nominees
  • Monitor Best Seller Lists
    • NY Times fiction and non-fiction
    • USA Today
  • Monitor book review sites
  • Add titles that are in the news
  • Add titles that are being turned into a movie
  • Move beyond basic new popular titles
    • Add backlist titles
      • If you are purchasing items from a popular author also add titles they have previously published
    • Complete series
      • If you are purchasing books that are mid or end of series, check and see if the rest of the series is owned
      • Try to complete series in the same file-type
    • Compare the digital collection to popular print collections
      • What popular genres or authors from your library’s print collections are missing

Holds Manager

Holds manager is a tool provided by OverDrive that allows libraries to easily fill holds through an automated process. The tool runs periodically as set by the group and creates a list of titles to be purchased that have holds on them.

The group can set:

  • The format type to purchase
  • The recommended hold ratio or number of holds for material
  • How often the tool should run (daily, weekly, monthly)
  • Set an allowance to purchase monthly
  • Maximum number of copies to purchase per title
  • If the tool should automatically purchase the material or if it should be saved to the work queue

The collection development committee has agreed that implementation of the Holds Manager will help the group meet its collection development goals and encourages member libraries to participate.

Holds manager will help the group to:

  • Lower the overall number of holds
  • Lower the holds ratio
  • Lower the wait time on popular titles
  • Fill holds more quickly
  • Fill holds regularly
  • Allow libraries to focus on the overall collection building rather than filling holds

The way the holds manager would work within a group setting is that libraries that are interested would need to put money on account with OverDrive. A monthly “allowance” would then be set (through the end of the year) and the plan would be setup to follow the most current Ohio Digital Library’s Collection Development Guidelines.

All dollars spent on Holds Manager will be attributed to your library’s MOU obligation. Libraries are not required to participate and contribute to the holds manager but it is recommended.

The Holds Manager will be configured to match the current Collection Development guidelines for the group. The materials purchased would be based on overall holds and hold ratios for the group, not for individual libraries. Many libraries have expressed concern about this, but remember that your library patrons are using materials purchased by other libraries, and other libraries are using materials purchased by your library. Lowering the number of holds and increasing availability benefits everyone in the group.

If your library has not contributed to the holds manager but are interested please contact the Project Manager.

Pulling Hold Reports

Holds reports are used to help libraries determine what items are in demand for both their own library and the group as a whole. If your library primarily purchases holds please consider contributing to the Holds Manager.

1. Log into
2. Click the “Insights” tab and select “Reports”
3. Select “Current Waiting List”
4. Select “Run New Report”
5. Select the type of website users are using when they place the holds

a. Standard is the standard full website
b. Mobile is the website users view when on mobile devices
c. In most cases you want to select “Standard and Mobile”

5. Select the library you would like to view holds for

 It is recommended to view the holds report for “All Branches” as well as selecting your own library to compare what your patrons have on hold to the rest of the group. This is because viewing the holds for only your library will not display the full hold ratio for the group. By comparing the reports you can see the total number of holds.

6. Select “Sort Order”
7. Click “Update” to generate
8. Once the report is generated click the top of a column to sort by that columns information.
9. If you are familiar with Microsoft Excel, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and “Export to Excel” to sort by different columns.

Or if you are an advanced user of Excel you can compare the holds report for all libraries to your own library’s holds.

Unavailable for Purchase

Every library staff member purchasing digital material should be aware of publisher restrictions on the sale of digital media to libraries. Currently there are a number of publishers which refuse to provide either eBooks, audiobooks or both to public libraries for loan to patrons. The reasons behind these restrictions vary from publisher to publisher. Below is a list of current publishers and their imprints who do not provide content to libraries.

  • BrillianceAudio Audiobooks

Intellectual Freedom Statement

Ohio Digital Library members have the right and obligation to respond to their patron’s inquiries including material challenges. If a member library wishes to have a digital item considered for removal from the Ohio Digital Library’s collection in response to a challenge, they should submit a request to the Advisory Committee for consideration.

Selection decisions are based on the merit of works as they relate to goals of the Ohio Digital Library. Works are selected to meet the expressed and anticipated needs of the statewide community. These works are inclusive of statewide cultures and opinions, not just the opinions of a particular community. Ohio Digital Library members are located all across Ohio and work to ensure a balanced and fair collection. Variety and balance of opinion is sought in all digital formats.