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Help me buy new library books


kfeusse
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I am the new librarian at our little library. I am struggling with what young adult and Jr fiction and non fiction books to buy. I tend to want to buy books like I was buying for my kids, however not all of the books my kids would read would be even glanced at by the other kids. Right now, diary of a wimpy kid are being checked out and not much else.

 

So I was wondering if you guys could help me compile a list of young adult books and junior books that are both good, quality books and yet be books I might be able to convince kids to read.

 

Thanks.

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good question...I wanted to find things that were fairly new...so the kids would actually consider reading them....our library has all sorts of Magic Tree House, Pony Pals, How to Train a Dragon...that sort of stuff...which isn't all bad, but not current.  

 

I just don't want to buy "fluff"....because they can get that at the school library...and we are on a limited budget and I want to use the money wisely. 

 

I am looking for fiction and non fiction for kids and young adult novels.  we have quite a few fantasy YA novels...looking for something else...something different....yet interesting. 

 

did that help....or just muddy the waters more? :)

 

I also wanted to buy new versions of the classics...but I don't know  if that is worth the money either.  My kids would pick those up and read them....even in their old, dusty covers...but my kids do not reflect most of the kids in our town.

 

thanks for any and all suggestions.

 

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Does the library have e-books?

yes, we offer e-books.  Not very many have stated taking advantage yet...

 

you see, we have had a very rough year.  Our last librarian quit last July...and left us with a mess at the library, she changed all of the passwords to the important programs, spread false rumors about the library board.   She had lied to the board about money she spent, the number of patrons that came in...all sorts of things. It was a BIG mess. The library board stepped in (I was on the board) to keep the library opened...we interviewed several people, but coming off of the mess we did, we didn't want to hire just anybody.  So we were picky.  A year went by...no good candidates...couldn't work the hours we needed, wasn't good with kids (didn't really like kids...kids are about 95% of our patrons), couldn't do all of duties required...etc.  So the library commission was on us to hire someone...so we didn't lose our accreditation status.   So I decided to apply and got the job.   I have never been a librarian before.  So I am trying to clean up the mess, undo all that was done...and start to give out library a good name once again.

 

So I am hoping to buy some good books....make a big deal about it on our FB page, in our little town newspaper, up at the school....etc. 

 

So, back to the question...yes we offer e-books....we have assigned about a dozen numbers...last year about 400 books were "checked out" and I am hoping to advertise that more too...with the hopes that more people will take advantage.

 

Sorry if I shared too much information. 

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I would, among the things you are already doing, set up a recommendations area. Set out a few books that you recommend, making them look as attractive as possible, and put out cards or something so patrons can add their recommendations. Make explicit that you are always looking for new books, and how exactly people can request the library purchase new books.

I'd also try emailing the children's librarian at larger libraries and ask them what moves.I'm confident our librarian would be very happy to help.

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When our small town library became.serious about children's books, the staff consulted some of the retired teachersas well as the other librarians in the network. They did fiction first,which I think was a mistake,.but it was easier to start there. The childrens area furniture and rug was put in and that helped make it attractive. Story hour, summer reading, and lego build brought in more patrons, then book clubs grew and local artists did one offs. Grants from various places helped. It took time, and it needed a champion.

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So, I would try and be methodical about this, and I would look at weeding the collection before purchasing and take some time to assess gaps.  Look at what is being borrowed now, and what is not.

 

Try finding some periodicals with reviews of children's lit, like The Horn Book.

 

Ask for suggestions, as suggested above.

 

Eventually, you are going to want to develop some sort of guideline or policy for collection development - you may already have one, if so, that would be a good place to start.

 

New editions of classics might be an idea, or you could look at some purchases from a list like Newberry or Caldecott winners.  If you can get some with nice new covers that you think will have a wide appeal, that could be an easy first step.  

 

I think YA lit is very overwhelmed with fantasy and paranormal themes right now - you are right to want to diversify.

 

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it sure sounds to me that some of you are librarians....with the kind of advise you are giving me.  If you are, will you identify yourself as such...please.  I would love to know if there is a similar group (as WTM) for librarians.  If anybody knows of such a place, I would LOVE to know about.  Maybe even a FB group...where ideas and questions can be addressed and talked about.

 

thank you all so very much for your advice and suggestions!!!!

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What resources does the ALA offer to librarians? They may be able to help with list suggestions, and more, since it sounds like your background is not in library science, so you may need more help getting things really going in a good direction.

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My two cents...

Before you spend money look at how you can display books and how you'll help patrons discover things.

 

I think that thinking like a bookstore can be helpful. Things like topical displays that change frequently, staff picks, books facing forward, organized by genre etc.

 

If books don't go out it might not just be the selection causing that.

 

Pinterest could be useful for display ideas.

 

.

Edited by happi duck
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I haven't had time to read the whole thread so please forgive any overlap. I'm the teen/technology services librarian at my local library. My rule of thumb(learned from a collections development workshop) is that the books/materials I add to the collection need to be one of two things a mirror or a window. Meaning materials should either should reflect(be relevant to) your community or be a window to things they might not otherwise experience(the rest of the world). So, I would get some things that are similar to your highest circulating items and then I would move out of the "comfort zone" and get some things that are more diverse. We have found that having a display that we call "staff picks" where we have books face out will get just about any book checked out, especially if it has a nice cover. ;)  

I use these review websites to help me select books because I can't read them all, lol.

http://www.shelf-awareness.com/

http://www.slj.com/

https://www.indiebound.org/

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/indie-reviews/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=kirkus&utm_campaign=KirkusBranded

https://bookpage.com/

Feel free to PM me, I love talking about library stuff :)

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In Case this is useful, I found a few more links:

20 Rules for Better Book Displays: (using the books you have to get people more interested in the library)

https://www.ebscohost.com/novelist/novelist-special/twenty-rules-for-better-book-displays

 

13 Awesome Library Displays (for fun):

http://bookriot.com/2016/04/13/library-week-13-awesome-library-displays/

 

 

 
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I'm not sure how small and rural you are, but there's the ARSL:

 

http://arsl.info

 

Your state will almost certainly have a state library association as well. 

 

You could try to identify towns with similar demographics as yours and see if one of their librarians can give you some mentoring or at least some tips. 

 

You could try approaching random parents you see out and about (at the playground, around pick-up/drop-off time at the local school) etc and ask them some questions about whether they use the library, why or why not, what they'd want in a library, etc. 

 

You could see if your local newspaper would be willing to print an article from you about the library's new direction, in which you can solicit opinions from the public (maybe schedule a meeting where people can voice their opinions). 

 

Basically, if the library was badly run, you don't *just* want to ask the people who currently set foot in your library... you also want to draw in some of the people who have been turned off by the library. Not all of them would become patrons, of course, no matter what you do... many people just aren't into libraries, but still. 

 

Put a suggestions box prominently displayed in your library. Make it easy to request new items (on the website, etc). Obviously, you don't have to buy everything people request - but it's good to know what kind of things people would like you to buy. BECPL allows people to request 2 items per week (and they actually buy the vast majority of them, but this is a big library system, serving over a million people with 38 branches if you include the bookmobile). 

 

Signed,

 

Almost finished a bachelor's degree in library science (which is about the same courses as an MLS). 

 

ETA: for people requesting items that wouldn't fit into your collection development plan, you can direct them to request those books as interlibrary loans. 

 

ETA2: A lot of the more rural branches in the BECPL system have a substantial number of audiobooks, as the people going to those branches tend to spend more time in the car. 

Edited by luuknam
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