I've been thinking about the collection development instructions I learned in grad school compared to making those decisions in my own library. I was very prepared to follow policy manuals, but I am not referring to those guidelines on purchasing. I am thinking about choosing the best books with a limited budget. I want every dollar to count. During these tough budget times I know many other librarians that have a $0 budget for books. Book fair profits or other fundraisers are the only sources for purchasing books. This article in Library Media Connections provides several excellent suggestions for managing during tough times. Luckily I do receive a fair book budget, but I want to spend it wisely. I have been spending the majority of my book funds on fiction. When I started last year I knew I really needed to update our collection. Fiction circulates the most and few teachers use our nonfiction books for class projects or activities. Have you noticed this in your own library?
There are nonfiction areas that I have allotted funds to beef up including Cars, Supernatural, Cooking and Sports. I have also purchased high interest titles like record books, "Would you rather" books, and books on survival. For some reason my kids are really into gross food so I purchased a few titles like "100 Most Disgusting" and "Yuck: The Things People Eat".
Students and teachers often ask me how I know what to buy. Here are a few places I get ideas:
- student requests
- scoping out book stores, public libraries and other school libraries
- our state book awards
- reviews and articles from School Library Journal and Booklist
- Junior Library Guild
- webinars from SLJ, Library Journal and Booklist
- #titletalk on Twitter
- following other librarians on Goodreads
- blogs like Love YA lit, Knightreader and Green Been Teen Queen
- email updates from Fictfact.com on my series
- Amazon bestseller lists and recommendations and Your Next Read
- Story Snoops Find a Book feature and the Lexile site for those really low/high readers
How do you decide what to buy? Where do you get ideas? Is there a blog you trust? or someone you follow on Twitter or Goodreads that recommends great books? I would love to hear what other librarians use to make decisions about spending those precious $$.