Why add this, but not that?: Exploring collection development

final-copy-of-pile-of-booksAs much as I would wish some days I had a magic wand to wave that would read all the book reviews out there for me and magically catalog and cover the books for me, alas there is not one. To some it may look like we have an odd way of deciding what books to add or not add to the collection. Insider secret…there is no secret formula and we don’t throw darts at book reviews. What we do often do is listen to our patrons and observe who is currently on the New York Times bestseller lists. That is the real secret, we simply talk to people and look at what books they may have heard reviewed on a local television show or radio show. We also do our best to try to keep our nonfiction collection as up-to-date as possible. Dinosaur books from the 70’s are extremely out of date with the information we have at our fingertips today.Which is why we try to weed out nonfiction more often or look at the copyright date of books before adding them, to make sure we are providing to the best of our ability, the most current information out there.

We are extremely fortunate to have a very generous community who donate books, DVDs, and audio books on a daily basis to either be added to the library collection or to be put towards our annual book sale. By going through donations we often are able to find copies of books we already own but may be in better condition than our own very well loved books. If you recall in the previous post “One way NOT to weed your collection” I talked about how Mother Nature took it upon herself to do a little weeding and redecorating at the the library. The good news is we have gotten the wall all fixed and new flooring in our conference room. We have also been able to slowly begin to replace the books through donations.

We also have a two person concept when it comes to what we decide to add to the library. To explain this concept is we have different staff members who either read a book review or have a book recommended to us, we will write a card out with the Title, Author, ISBN, price, release date, and a few notes as to why we think it would be good to add to the collection. We share these cards with the director who either has written out a card for the same book, always a good thing to have everyone thinking alike, or will further research the title and decide “yes order now” or “let’s hold off on this for the moment”. We take this same approach when it comes to donations. This is a system that we have found works for us as a staff and as a library to provide the best possible service to our community and patrons.

Possibly this has cleared up a few questions you may have had for how we decide what to add or subtract from our library collection.

Until next time, TTFN!wbd-stack-of-books

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Inner thoughts of a librarian

prehistoric-googlingSo I was going to write a post about collection development and how we decide what to add to the library collection, until I realized how uninspired I was to talk about it today. So I’ll talk about that another day. My personal life lately has been absolutely crazy, which is possibly why I was feeling a case of writers block. So bear with me as I try to free myself from my creative block.

On Sunday I was driving around with two of my best friends from high school, its been over ten years since we have done anything like this, and we talked about books we read and how we remember the old card catalogs. One friend shared a story with me about some kids on her bus who were talking about something and she overhead one of them say “just Google it”. As I was listening to her tell the story and how she suggested to the kids they go to the library the next day to find a book to answer their question, it made me think of when we were children and our lack of Google and technology at our fingertips. I pondered this throughout the day as we drove around going from shop to shop, using our phones for GPS instead of a physical map. On our way to one store the GPS misdirected us and it struck me to go through my “passport” to see if there was anything for directions or landmarks to help us find our way. Thankfully there was and we were quickly able to locate the shop within a few minutes.

To my amusement, across the street from the store was the local library. Throughout our drive we either saw signs for the local library or drove past the library which greatly amused me. All in all the day was a lot of fun and it was great to spend some time with friends who I do not get to see very often. Lets hope I can overcome my writer’s block soon.

TTFN!

P.S. It might come as a shock to some people but librarians don’t actually live at the library. Try to let others down gently if you choose to share this surprising fact.

Books in series: how to keep track

bookshelfHave you ever picked up a book, started reading it and realized it is the third book in the series? Believe me I have done this several times. Today there are many authors for adults, young adults, and children who create a character(s) and continue to run with them for a number of books. So how do you keep track of what books are in which series and in which specific order do they go in. You could check the most recent title in the series and hope all the books are listed in order in the front of the book or you could keep endless lists of the different series. This can get overwhelming, I know from personal experience.

There are many ways to look up where a book is in a series. There is always the handy use of Google and Wikipedia which you can easily access from anywhere. There are also websites with the books broken down by author and their possibly numerous book series. Yes I am talking about authors like James Patterson, Erin Hunter, Charlaine Harris, Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich, etc.

One website I use on a daily basis at work is: http://ww2.kdl.org/libcat/whatsnext.asp  This is a great site as it breaks it down by author, series, book title, category, and genre. This is especially great when you are trying to figure out the placement of a kids book such as 39 clues which have several different authors writing for the series. Another website I have found to be helpful with children’s book series is www.kidsbookseries.com You can use Amazon and Goodreads, if you use both sites on a regular basis. I will say if you a series you have enjoyed has ended Amazon and Goodreads are great resources for looking at books which are similar to the one you may have just put down.

One thing I have sslloowwllyy started to do at the library where I work at, is to label the series and placement of a book directly on the spine label and in the record. So far I have gotten positive feedback from other staff members, volunteers, and patrons who appreciate seeing the series and number in a visible spot while perusing the shelves for a new book to read. This is very slow work given the fact I am re-cataloging the books in my free time when I am not processing new library materials, answering the phone, helping patrons, or you know just running up and down the stairs for a wide variety of reasons.

Until next time!

P.S. As I am writing this blog post I am actually sitting at my work computer eating lunch and working on other projects. Multitasking at its best.

 

Google docs and you

GoogleSo if you haven’t yet noticed in my other posts my darling little sister is going to get married in a few short months. Not only do I get to continue to do my job as her older sister, I am also her maid of honor. I am excited and also nervous about taking on this new role in our relationship, don’t get me wrong like most siblings with an age difference we have had our share of fights, but at the end of the day she is my little sister. One of the challenges in this endeavor is we both work full time and we live forty-five minutes apart from each other, so getting together when we are both free is a difficult thing for us. One way we have found around this is to use e-mail, text messages, and Facebook to communicate with each other and other members of the bridal party.

Now you are probably wondering why I am going on about my sister’s wedding when the title of this post is “Google docs and you”. Google has a number of great features which is proving to be a very useful resource for me at the moment in both my professional life and my personal life. In my personal life, I am able to type up to do lists of everything I want to remember and create spreadsheets for all of the different guest lists to see who is going to be able to come or not to different events we have planned for the wedding. The benefit of creating these documents using Google is I can share the documents with other members of the wedding party where ever I am, the reason for this is because the documents are saved in the cloud and are not restricted to a single computer.

Google documents are similar in the layout and shortcuts to to the same ones I use in Microsoft works. Its user friendly and I find it is easier to manage than Open Office. It has the added benefit of not having to purchase and update software for your computer. An additional bonus to using Google docs is you can share documents with others to edit and add. This is great to use with co-workers to collaborate on a project or within an organization. You can easily download an app for your smartphone but there are some limitations of what you can do with the app.

Until next time everyone!

Lesson # 12

P.S. Don’t worry not all of my blog posts will talk about my sister’s upcoming nuptials. This is a very big day for us as a family and she is my Smurfs. Not to mention in the upcoming months I have a lot of birthdays to celebrate in the Spring and Summer months. smurfette-clipart-2

What is the right cloud for you?

indexAs you may have noticed I am all about staying organized in my busy crazy life. I will even admit I am lost without my phone some days. The simple reason behind that is my phone is a miniature version of my laptop or work computer. So this leads me to the question of how many apps do I need to store documents and photos to save memory space on my phone and computer. There are lots of “cloud” storage programs out there, its simply a matter of finding the one that works for you and you individual needs. In this lesson I am going to explore Dropbox. It is an online “cloud” storage program you can install onto your computer and smartphone using an app. You can get the basic package for free or you can pay a monthly fee if you are using it for a business or organization. I find it is a simple program to use and transfer files into to be saved as a backup.

The next question to come to mind is how can this help me in my personal or professional work life. It would be interesting to use Dropbox in a professional capacity simply for the reason of being able to edit certain documents while out of the office and share them with the rest of the staff. It raises the question, if this would be a useful function if a staff member is away at a conference and would like to share notes right away with the rest of the staff. It is certainly something that will need to be explored in further detail with my co-workers.

In my personal life I am beginning to wonder if it would be useful in the planning process of my sister’s upcoming wedding. It would allow members of the bridal party to share and edit guests lists for the various functions we have planned. It could also help to keep everyone up-to-date on everything that is going on and where we need to concentrate. It will be interesting to bring this up with both my mom and my sister. It is possible that it would be more convenient than e-mail.

Until next time!

Lesson #11

How to keep track of life while on the go

4a52722cff4d2ff48a2532aac876aeeeThere are many ways to try to stay organized while on the go. I use my phone for everything to stay on top of classes I am signed up for, meetings for work, birthdays, etc. What if there was a way to keep everything organized and send out e-mails to everyone when scheduling an event? Doodle is a great solution to staying organized while on the move. While there is an app for your mobile device, it is not a free download. Doodle will be a great tool for me in not only my professional life but also in my personal life. In the next coming months my personal life is going to crazy with birthdays, wedding events, and work. By using Doodle I can set up an event and suggest a variety of dates and times to schedule events and dinners with friends and family. It is important to remember you can’t work all the time without getting burnt out.

To test out Doodle I scheduled a dinner with my little sister and other members of the bridal party. I suggested three dates on a day we all agreed would work for everyone. I was also able to suggest a time and location for the dinner.  It will be useful when I am organizing her bridal shower and bachelorette party. I can also keep track of who has responded. It will be a great backup to using the calendar on my phone. I was able to to link my Doodle account with my Facebook account to keep track of events I am invited too and events I schedule myself.

Hopefully spring is on it’s way. Until next time.

Lesson #9

Social Bookmarking for Librarians

mzl.oogxgqofIn a world where we use computers in our daily lives for a wide variety of things, it is easy to get lost in the shuffle and confusion of endless websites to be used at a later point in time. One way to stay organized and less overwhelmed is to create a social bookmaking account. This is a great idea because your bookmarks are not confined to one computer, smartphone, or tablet. It is especially useful to librarians in a smaller library where staff members are encouraged to be cross-trained and work at different computers in the library.

There are two free social bookmarking sites to use for this purpose; they are called “Delicious” and “Diingo”. I found personally Diigo is the site that will work best for me. I can use tags to organize all the bookmarks I reference on a daily basis. I can send bookmarks to others and mark them to read at a later point in time. It will prove useful to me to have bookmarks on a social site for when I am working from home or at a different computer at work. A lot of the sites I use on a daily basis at work help me to figure out where a book is in a certain series or to figure out the volume number for a graphic novel. As a cataloger, I often use three main sites to figure out the placement of a book. In a lot of book series for children there will be the main series with a number of sub-series. These can be confusing and hard to keep track. The increasing popularity of Graphic Novels has introduced older book series like The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew to a new generation of readers. A lot of people still like to read books in order. When cataloging books I try to label the book series and the number in the series. Diigo can be helpful in this area.

Diigo has an app you can download for free to your smartphone or tablet. The app will is great for when you are on the go at a conference and do not feel like bringing a lot of devices with you. This will come in especially helpful when I am at VLA (Vermont Library Association) conference in May. The app is user friendly and easy to use. Its a great way to stay organized on the go in this fast paced world.

Until next time.

Lesson # 8