Monday, March 03, 2008

A Fun Assignment

The library had an unexpected financial windfall, and Gretchen decided to use it for new materials. But she doesn't really have time to wade through pages and pages of catalogs. So she asked me to go through them and come up with some suggestions. Yipee!

As you can see by all those yellow tags sticking out, I could have spent the whole amount before I got halfway through the stack. But I'm marking possibilities and will go back and narrow down choices later. And I will probably make a list of suggestions that she can further narrow.

Of course, my first impulse is "buy lots of knitting books", but that will be revised to some or even a couple of knitting books as part of a larger mix. The hard part here is resolving some broader philosophical questions. Do I go for things that are likely to circulate widely? In that case I should focus on best selling fiction authors, possibly in audio book format or large type editions. Do I try to look at where our collections could use filling out? More non-fiction? If so, in what areas - the range is vast.

Of course, what I want to do is get a bunch of things I like and think other people should like (or should be exposed to), too. But despite my lack of formal librarian training, I'm pretty sure that simply pushing my own agenda (whether craftwise, literary or political) would not be considered a best practice, acquisitions wise.

Well, if it's a dilemma, it's really a pleasant sort of one to have. I'm off to look at more catalogs now.


Leslie said...

As former chair of the Library Trustees I can appreciate your problem. Depending on the size of the windfall, I would consider a mix of "sure to circulate" and "collection development." And if the "collection development" portion had at least one knitting book it probably wouldn't be at all amiss.

But what do I know?? LOL

magnusmog said...

what a great dilemma - definately one knitting book....

Are there any community groups who regularly use the library? Maybe they would have good ideas about what books would suit their needs. I'd just love to get my hands on all of those catalogues :)

MollyBeees said...

OMGosh! I'd love to be in your shoes! I wouldn't be able to narrow it down though! ALL books are my friends!

Anonymous said...

My local librarian told me that he thought buying books would be his favorite part of the job, but he discovered that it quickly became drudgery because of the never-ending decisions and juggling.

Does your library have a collection development policy? Perhaps that would give you some guidance (although I seem to remember that such a policy is often a bit vague on specifics).

Have fun!

YarnThrower said...

It's so nice of you to help in this way! Given the thought you put into it, I'm sure you will end up with great selections!

Linda L. said...

I vote for collection development, too. I think that Best Selling fiction would spend more time in transit to other SCLS libraries than it would be available to folks in your area. Maybe some Childrens' non-fiction and Lit and some local authors?

Thought I'd add something you might get a laugh from - I had lunch with my mom (a retired librarian) last Saturday, and as I was walking her to her car I saw she had a travel mug in her cupholder. It read: "If Librarians Ruled The World, Reading Would Be A Varsity Sport!"