I was really interested in reading the collection development articles for this week because I’ve actually been buying for several different collections for the past few years. When I started at my library I was part of the adult department so I purchased for the High School collection (fiction and nonfiction) and graphic novels. Now that I’m in youth services I buy for the middle school collection (we call it YA) both fiction and nonfiction, graphic novels for all ages through 8th grade, and DVDs.
Collection development is something I’ve learned through on the job experience. But there’s always good new things to learn. I loved the tip from one reading this week to look at books that are marked as long overdue or missing–chances are that it’s missing because it’s a popular book and needs to be replaced. I also liked the idea of taking multiple copies off the shelf (leaving one or two of course) of required reading books for the summer. That way you can open up space for more new books and bring out the other ones next summer. I’m going to see if we can make that happen at our library.
Utilizing the teen advisory board is key. Knowing you have the input of teens to help let you know what’s popular at the moment and what’s fading is really useful. Right now we also use our Anime Club to get their insight on what manga series we should continue or let go. Let’s face it, we’re not the experts on it. But they are, so they’re input is crucial. It frees up time for us that can be put towards additional program planning and makes the teens feel an even deeper connection to the library.
Something that I haven’t always paid the highest attention to is our collection development statement. I’m going to make sure that I copy the pages relevant to my section and put them at my desk where I can quickly see it. It’s a really helpful and important tool when it comes to making a choice on whether to add something or not to the collection.
Making sure the collection that you’re purchasing for has what your patrons need is so key. It’s more than just putting materials in a cart and sending it off to be ordered. You’re creating access to materials for patrons, giving them new stories to discover, and making sure the collection stays healthy. It’s a fantastic responsibility.