During our discussions about collection building, the Long Range Planning Committee wanted to know how we pick our books for the library collections. They felt that the community, library users and non-users alike, would also be interested in knowing. Collection development certainly isn’t random, or based on my personal taste as the one who makes the orders. I read reviews in both Booklist and Library Journal. I peruse the bestseller lists in the New York Times and the Boston Globe. Another great source is NPR. Many of our patrons listen to NPR, and are interested in reading whatever is reviewed on Diane Rehm, Fresh Air, and other shows. I also pay attention to a number of websites like IndieBound, which provides a weekly report from independent booksellers across America of what indie readers are buying, BookSpot, Complete Review , Book Review Links, ALA (American Library Association). I also keep an eye on book reviews in national magazines, like The Week, Time, Newsweek, and even upon occasion, People Magazine.
We also subscribe to Wilson Core Collections: Children’s, Public (non-fiction), and Fiction Catalogs, which are reference books to help guide collection development in public, school, and children’s libraries.
The most important thing I do for CML’s collections is listen to my staff and patrons about what they think we should have. We keep a book buying list at the ready on the circulation desk, so we don’t forget to write down any and all suggestions. We also keep an eye on our interlibrary loans – if two or more patrons want a book on ILL, we buy it.
I don’t buy every single book that is recommended, because it is my job to balance the collection, and make sure that we have a readership for that particular title. However I consider every suggestion with great care by reading reviews. I regard a purchase as successful if at least six patrons read it.
If there is a title that YOU think we should have, tell me by commenting on this post.
How we buy our books