Floating Collections
A Collection Development Model for Long-Term Success
by Wendy K. Bartlett
January 2014, 128pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-59884-743-7
$60, £47, 53€, A83
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-744-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Librarians seeking to stretch their budgets during economically challenged times are turning to “floating collections” as a solution. This guide shows you how to adopt floating collections as standard practice in your library.

This easy-to-use, comprehensive guide shows how to establish a floating collection in any library—regardless of type or size.

Despite its increasing popularity, there are few published works about floating and floating collections. Virtually no one has addressed critical long-term issues like core collections, material selection, and weeding after floating has taken place. Floating Collections: A Collection Development Model for Long-Term Success makes all of this urgently needed information available in one place.

This unique guidebook defines “floating,” explains the pros and cons, explores the impact of floating collections on collection work, and enables readers to establish a floating collection in any library. Not only does this book help librarians to decide rationally if, how, and when to float, it also outlines a how-to process for maximum success based on the real-world experience of many systems and identifies ways to maximize the advantages of a floating collection. In addition, the author addresses common collection concerns and outlines workable solutions for problematic issues that can arise.


  • Checklists for various stages of the floating process
  • Frequently asked questions for staff members
  • A bibliography of publications on floating collections, covering websites of floating libraries, PLA presentations, articles, and listserv archives
  • An index covers major topics, libraries described within the text, as well as interviewed individuals
Wendy K. Bartlett, MLIS, is collection development manager for the Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH.


"[Barrett] argues that floating is a service to communities, is fiscally responsible for budget-strapped systems, and, in the end, a benefit to library staff. Chapters include tips on how to approach the practice with staff, how to ready facilities and collections, and, most importantly, how to manage new collections. Also offered are practical evaluations, FAQs, and a list of larger systems in the United States that offer floating collections."—School Library Journal, June 1, 2014

"With many libraries exploring floating collections, Bartlett’s book is a useful primer on the process and should be on the reading list for any library looking at floating."—Technicalities, June 1, 2015

"Bartlett, collection development manager for the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library, begins this book with an introduction that discusses the basics of floating collections—what they are, how they are organized, their methodology, and which concerns such collections address. . . . Eight appendixes offer additional visuals to help librarians and administrators in the decision-making process and the managing of a floating collection."—Booklist Online, May 21, 2014

"This is a superb guide that tackles a challenging decision facing libraries. . . a useful manual to ease the most discerning librarian or administrator who may not be convinced that floating their collection is the best way to go. . . . Floating Collections is an excellent resource to have in your personal and library collection. . . . If your library is debating implementing a floating collection, this is the book for you."—Public Libraries, January 1, 2015

"Bartlett has written the guide on how to float and live to tell the tale. She provides ample guidance for answering staff questions and helping libraries determine whether floating would be a positive initiative financially and for patron service. I recommend this book for large public libraries as well as academic libraries to whom floating appeals."—Library Resources and Technical Services, February 1, 2016
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