Core Collections

Product banner image

Created by Librarians, for Librarians

For all of your collection development and maintenance, general reference and readers’ advisory needs, these reliable guides help librarians build and maintain well-rounded collections of the most highly recommended reference, non-fiction and fiction books.

With a solid history of excellence—which has earned respect and recognition within the library market—these collections are the only collection development tools on the market with clear recommendation levels and documented selection criteria. This gives these collections an unparalleled level of credibility and authority as impartial and expert aids.

The Recommendation Levels are assigned by the Core Collections editors—librarians with experience in collection development, cataloguing, digital content management, metadata and readers’ advisory—and an advisory committee of exalted public, academic and school librarians who are experts in their fields, many of whom have served terms on committees for American Library Association awards, such as the Newbery, the Caldecott and the Printz.

Learn more about the team that selects and recommends these titles.

These comprehensive collection development tools for public, academic and K-12 libraries, which list thousands of books chosen for their merit, are available online and in print.


H. W. Wilson Core Collections databases powered by EBSCOhost® contain titles at all recommendation levels and allow advanced search and sorting capabilities as well as links to full-text reviews. For example, “Similar books” and “Other books by this author” widgets within each detailed book record give recommendations of other books within the Core Collections product. These recommendations are directly linked to the detailed records of the recommended titles.

In addition, subscribers of the Core Collections 5-pack will have access to a colorful interface called Core Collections Complete, which allows librarians to do the following:

  • Search all five collections at once
  • Browse award-winning books
  • See recently added books every time you log in
  • Get ideas for book displays and book lists
  • Easily access the Core Collections selection policy

In Print

The print editions are abridgements of the databases and contain listings for titles in the top two recommendation levels: Most Highly Recommended and Core Collection, plus metadata and evaluative excerpts for making collection development decisions. Copies are available from Grey House Publishing and new editions are published approximately every two years.


Recommended to librarians and libraries at all levels. Easy to use, economical and time-saving for librarians and paraprofessionals working on collection development.

– Booklist