Collection Development

Sitting here at the reference desk right now working on collection development, which is library-ese for “deciding what books the library should have.” This is actually more complex than you might think at first. It’s not like you can just stroll out to the latest Amazon “top selling” list and buy them all. For example, right now I’ve been weeding the PRs for condition, which is library-ese for “going through the British literature section to see which books are in such crummy shape that I don’t think they should be library books anymore.” What does “crummy shape” mean? Well, pick your poison:

The cover is falling off
The cover is shredded
It’s molding (mold is awful in a library–it spreads)
It’s wormy (mmm . . . book worms. They also spread.)
It’s so brittle you can’t turn the pages without them crumbling
Pages are falling out
It’s marked up extensively with pen or highlighter
Or all of the above

So once I’ve ID’ed the books that Must Go, then I have to look and see how much use they’ve been getting. How many times have they been checked out, and when? If they’ve never been checked out, easy schmeasy–away they go. If they’ve been checked out a lot, then I have to see if I have enough money to buy new ones–if those books are still in print. If they’re not in print, then I have to decide what current book in print is the best equivalent to fill that hole in the collection. To do that, I have to evaluate some of the suggested “best books” on that subject. Right now I’m looking at Christopher Marlowe and John Donne.

If none of this sounds interesting to you, be glad you’re not a librarian. I actually enjoy it quite a bit. Enough that I’m now going to stop blogging and get back to work. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a nice Friday!

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