Core Collections

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Created by Librarians, for Librarians

These impartial, authoritative guides help librarians build and maintain well-rounded collections of the most highly recommended reference, nonfiction and fiction books. With documented selection criteria, four levels of recommendation and an unparalleled level of credibility, the Core Collections products help librarians do their jobs better, faster and with more confidence.

Expert Recommendations

With a solid history of excellence, Core Collections products have earned respect and recognition within the library market as the only collection development tools with clear recommendation levels and documented selection criteria.

Recommendation levels are assigned by the Core Collections editors — librarians with experience in collection development, cataloging, 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.

Online Editions

Online editions of Core Collections, powered by EBSCOhost, contain titles at all recommendation levels and allow advanced search and sorting capabilities as well as links to full-text reviews. “Similar Books” and “Other Books by This Author” suggestions link directly to related titles in the Core Collections product. Starred reviews, awards and industry best lists are also included when available.

Core Collections databases include Lexile® Measures to further assist librarians in selecting books that meet the needs and interests of all readers.

Core Collections Complete

Packages of multiple Core Collections products are available, and subscribers of the Core Collections 5-pack will have access to Core Collections Complete. This dedicated, colorful interface 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

Print Editions

The print editions are abridgments 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