Optimizing Floating Collections for Public Libraries

This webinar provides

  • a current overview of floating collection practices across the U.S. with a focus on ways that staff from all areas of the library system can optimize customer access to materials in a floating collection
  • the role of management staff across departments in addressing the collection maintenance opportunities and challenges associated with system collections
  • content/title coverage in individual branches
  • how staff collaboration and ILS tools may be used to aid in more system-wide collection maintenance
  • strategies for customizing local branch holdings to reflect the browsing interest of in-person customers.


  • the importance of online library guides and featured titles lists in building awareness of materials not actually on hand at physical locations
  • technological trends such as the prevalence of smart phones and mobile apps, which build customer awareness of holdings in the library catalog.

Originally presented on Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this session, attendees will:

  • receive updated information on the use of floating collections across the U.S.
  • be familiar with the results of a staff survey regarding floating collection effectiveness
  • gain an understanding of how reducing in transit delivery times results in greater collection access
  • develop practices which allow for local collection customization to support in-person browsing
  • build awareness of the increased ease and demand for accessing the library collection via mobile devices
  • learn new techniques for building customer awareness of collection holdings

Who Should Attend

Public service staff, collection development staff, web services, and administrative staff.


Deborah George is the Division Director of Materials Management at Gwinnett County Public Library in Lawrenceville, Georgia, where she supervises materials selection and cataloging, technical services and interlibrary loan. Her previous positions include working as a children’s and reference librarian, as well as serving as a manager of both of the library website and a physical branch.

Barbara Spruill is the Branch Services Division Director for Gwinnett County Public Library, which has been floating all collections except reference and magazines since 2004. Barbara received her MLS from Florida State University and has worked with library collections throughout her career. She presented a panel presentation and virtual program, “Adrift or Right on Target: Perspectives on Floating Collections” for PLA as well as an ALCTS e-forum with Deborah George on floating collections in public libraries.




How to Register

No registration required. Access recording now:

Recording (YouTube)

Recording (.wmv)

Slides (.pdf)

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For questions or comments related to the webinars, contact Julie Reese, ALCTS Events Manager at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5034 or jreese@ala.org.