Skip to Main Content

Collection Development: Selection Tools

A guide to building quality library collections that serve the entire community.

Sources of Help

There are many sources that assist in selecting books. Among these are book reviews, “best of” and recommended title lists, and annotated bibliographies.


·   Book Reviews

Even though only a small fraction of books published are actually reviewed, the book review is one of the most important selection tools. The statewide database MasterFile Premier (WVInfoDepot) is an excellent source for finding full text book reviews.  The following are all available: Booklist, Horn Book, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, VOYA.  NoveList Plus and NoveList Plus K-8, also available on WVInfoDepot, include book reviews and much more for the discriminating selector. The web sites of major online booksellers, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book-A-Million also contain reviews. 


·  ”Best of” and Recommended Lists

These lists can be used as checklists to make sure you did not miss a particularly good book.  NoveList Plus and NoveList Plus K-8 include award lists arranged by both award name and genre.  The American Library Association lists awards on it web site.  some library patrons are particularly interested in reading from lists of recommended books such as Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels list. If you know that the community’s reading choices are influenced by recommendations, you may want to consider recommended lists in your book selection process.

·  Online Bookstores

Online bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble provide quick and easy ways to find publication information for a wide range of books. They also provide a convenient method for purchasing books that are needed very quickly. The disadvantage of these sources is that there is little professional critical opinion included.


·  Vendor Catalogs & Online Inventory Lists

Major library vendors such as Baker and Taylor and Ingram maintain extensive bibliographic databases for their customers. These databases are interactive for ease of online ordering. At one time simply inventory lists containing information about items actually in stock and ready to be shipped, they have expanded to include both older titles which may or may not actually still be available and items not yet published but anticipated. Library customers have access to these extensive databases which often also include book reviews.


Online Selection Tools


The following publications are available by subscription.  Links are to  current issues only.

Full text reviews from back issues are available in Masterfile Premier, a WVInfoDepot database.   

West Virginia Library Commission
1900 Kanawha Blvd East | Culture Center, Bldg. 9 | Charleston, WV 25305
In-State Toll Free : (800) 642-9021 | (304) 558-2041