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Opening Day Collections - Using What We Have

Baltimore County Public Library

Innovation Summary

By implementing the use of technology for data analysis, we are better equppied for selecting opening day collections for new branches.

Problem Statement

We have used vendors in the past to help us order, process, catalog and ship our opening day collections. Most of those processes worked well, but we’d been feeling increasingly frustrated with the vendors to meet our needs in creating selection lists for new branches that match exactly the buying plan for that branch. It seemed as if the lists were being created using some criteria, but not the kind of personalization that we spent a lot of time doing “after the fact.”


We now have access to 2 great tools to analyze our collections, the Collection HQ software tool, and Simply Reports, which is part of our Polaris ILS. Using these reports to analyze our current data, we were able to create carts in our vendor database that more closely matched our own criteria. Selection staff worked with our support staff to set up criteria for each collection area. The support staff would run the reports in Collection HQ or Simply Reports, then transfer the reports to the vendor database for selection by the librarian staff.


We are halfway through the largest opening day project in our history and everyone is viewing it as a great success. It does take more work up front from the support staff, but it is allowing the selectors to have much better control over exactly what they know needs to be ordered. In addition, it has been so successful in identifying collection holes in other ways that we are thinking about altering our replacement process using these reports in the future, further improving ways we had been thinking about replacement over the last years.