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 Dinosaur books from the 70’s are extremely out of date with the information we have at our fingertips today.Which is why we try to weed out nonfiction more often or look at the copyright date of books before adding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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