And I thought, that's IT. That is a much better explanation of a collection development policy than anything I EVER heard in library school, at least for a small library.
It's quite simple - you buy books you know people will read.
Now, I can't quite match Ms. Yingling's being able to put a name to every book - although I serve a fairly small town (pop. 8,000 more or less) we're also part of a consortium and we serve townships, so our service population is closer to 20,000. Plus, I've only been here since May.
But, I've gotten to know quite a few kids, immersed myself in our circ stats, and hovered over the new book shelf like a vulture.
And so....I didn't run out and buy the ALA award and honor books we're missing. I don't buy every starred review in SLJ. I miss out on the beautifully-written-and-angsty-ya-literature-with-deep-meaning. I regretfully abstain from buying beautifully illustrated picture books by Pinkney and Isadora (ok, ok, I bought a COUPLE) and no jazz books, ever, at all.
So, you ask, what the heck AM I buying?
Picturebooks and nonfiction - trucks, dinosaurs, and princesses. I am buying other things of course, but these are key. I think I have a fairly good eye for what kids and parents will love in the picture book area.
Fairy series and Star Wars. I have two large and enthusiastic groups of kids who love, love, love these books. I buy every Daisy Meadows as soon as it comes out, plus other series (if it's got glitter - they love it). And I've been replacing our giant Star Wars cross-sections and visual dictionaries as they fall to pieces from all the love.
Juvenile - lots of different things, but the most recent "winners" I've gotten:
- Science Fair by Dave Barry and some other guy whose name I can't remember. The reviews were kinda blah, but I took one look at the cover and on to the order list it went. And I was right! It's checked out 2 or 3 times already and we've only had it a month or so.
- Boys are Dogs by Leslie Margolis. The pink and lime cover caught my eye, I loved the blurb, and it was recommended by Meg Cabot, whose Allie Finkle series goes well here, so I gave it a shot....this one has gone BIG. It checked out from the new shelf right away and every time it comes in it goes out again.
- All the Warriors tie-ins, manga, and so on.
- More books "like Wimpy Kid" - Jim Benton's Dear Dumb Diary, Ellie McDoodle
- Beginning chapter books - Mammoth Academy, Speck's Maybelle books
- vampire books. and werewolves. Clique. Gossip Girls. Fantasy with girly covers (hey, it's a genre to me).
- Ellen Hopkins and more novels in verse and/or my life is unbelievably sick stories. (I'd never heard of Ellen Hopkins, but a teen asked me for them and no sooner had I got one than it was STOLEN so I got lots more right away.)
- Memoirs and biographies of sad childhoods.
I'm looking for good "adventure" stories both in YA and juvenile as I've been asked for these. I'm having trouble picking good ones that aren't fantasy - I've looked at several different series but haven't quite made up my mind.
Nonfiction is a whole other mess. Our nonfiction section is seriously, painfully, outdated. I'm mainly working on getting really good nonfiction for younger readers and updating the science/animals area right now. It's going to be long and arduous.
This all sounds a bit vague....and it is! I'm still working on finding out what the community wants/likes to
read, gaps in our collection, and so on. Plus, hey, I'm sick. I don't have to be coherent.
But this is kind of how I feel about collection development - I buy what people want to read, books I know I can talk people into reading because I love them, and yes, I will buy some things that are never going to have huge circ stats but that I know a few people will want to read.
How do you feel about collection development?