Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Looking Ahead: Collection Development 2011

You didn't think I was going to leave collection development out of my yearly plans did you? I love, love, love, collection development. Of course, there's never enough money for everything I think we should have....and somehow by the end of the year there's even less, as things go wrong and budgets get cut. Sigh. I shimmied out of that this year, by spending most of my money right before the summer, but I don't think I can do that twice. Our cataloguer and processor will probably put poison on my keyboard if I try that again. So....what to focus on, what to cut, what to buy, what to let go?

Why, yes, I am a bit obsessive about this. Someday, when I get too old and creaky to jump nonstop through 4 renditions of Jim Gill's Jumping and Counting, I cherish a small private dream of becoming a collections manager for a large system. Probably not a practical dream, but a dream nonetheless.

The nonfiction focus this year is sports, with forays into mythology, craft books, and I'm wubbling on whether or not to start adding biographies this year or wait until next year.

The easy reader section is getting a major revamp - we relabeled them all, I pulled stacks, and I have a huge list to replace and another of new titles to add.

My director really wants me to focus on picture books and cut down on YA. I'm sort of torn on this. I bought a LOT of picture books last year, but this section is still rather grungy and could use help. Plus, it's the highest-circulating section (I'm pretty sure). On the other hand, I feel like our YA area is still suffering from the jumpy way it was developed - before I was hired, there was a lot of change and the ys librarians just didn't have time to do anything with this area I think. We definitely have a need for more manga. On the other hand, the YA fiction section is FULL. If I buy more, I'd have to weed more. There's stuff I could weed, but we're too close to our standards to weed much there, and I already weeded YA last year.

In addition to this, we did a real inventory, with scanners! not just pencils and paper! last August and came to a sickening realization of just how much stuff is missing. So, I have to put aside a big chunk for replacements - missing as well as damaged materials. Also "never returned". If someone's had a book checked out for over two years...welll, it's probably not coming back, is it?

So, I have to be very picky about what YA fiction I buy, since with my current budget layout I can only get about 70-80 titles next year. This brings up another problem. Sequels. Sequels! Argh! It seems like I can never buy anything new, try debut authors, get something a little different, because I am so bogged down in buying sequels, especially paranormal romance. So, I have decided to ruthlessly cut back on sequels. Unless I have really high circ stats and actual patron requests for a series, I will not buy the sequels. Being an obsessive kind of person, this just kills me, but it has to be done.

Coming next....lists for 2011 (of course I have lists for 2011. What else are pre-publication newsletters and webcasts for?)


Amy said...

Are you reading my mind Jennifer? :)You've basically described my 2011 purchasing plans as well-- though I have more wiggle room with YA than you do.

The children's librarian before me wasn't a weeder, so I feel like I've just been decimating every collection, but things are just not circing, and certain things that are circing, I can't in good conscious continue circing. So I'm struggling with finding that balance between needing to purchase the new titles kids, teens, and families are looking for, but also filling in holes that are created when, oh I don't know, books about NASA that are "current and updated" but don't include info about the Challenger explosion (never mind the Mars Rover!) are weeded.

And P.S. if I can hold onto the dream of being a collections manager for a system someday, you can too!

Jennifer said...

Thanks! Makes me feel so much better to know other people do "chunks" in different years...