The big push here is for a stunning-looking, modern collection. This is insanely difficult for a children’s librarian. One day, a book is new. A month later, it’s covered in crayon. Also, as a new librarian, it’s taken me a little while to warm up to the idea of weeding–taking old books out of the collection to make way for a new one. Lately? I’ve been getting rid of about one in every five books in our collection.
Why, you ask? But the taxpayer money, you say! Believe me, if I worked hard to get here, it’s for a good reason. Last night I got rid of books for the following reasons:
-they were covered in stickers
-they were covered in scribbles
-they were covered in stickers and scribbles
-they were stained by age
-they were stained by juice
-they were stained by what may have been blood
-they were torn
-you couldn’t even read the spine anymore
-they fell apart when you opened them
-they hadn’t been checked out in the last three years
-they had rarely, if ever, been checked out in the last twelve years
And of course, none of them are in sale condition, so we can’t even get a part of that money back. Fortunately, a lot of the books I’ve been throwing out this past month cost about $3.99. But I don’t want to replace them, because those little paperbacks fall apart in like two years.
It won’t be the same when I hit the picture books, which can run like $25/pop.
I’m trying to be selective. I’m trying to pay attention to the circulation numbers and make sure I’m only reordering the ones that are the most popular. I’m trying to be responsible with taxpayer money. I’m trying to remember that my branch is part of a system, and that if we have 25 books in a loosely-connected series, I don’t have to order the 26th if several other branches have copies. But it’s tough not being a completionist. The 26th Evanovich will get ordered for the library, but I don’t really need 26 different Nate the Great titles if I have 25 and the shelf is starting to get crowded.
Now that I’m done the Easy Reader fiction, it’s on to the difficult reorders: Easy Reader non-fiction. Do you know how hard it is to find children’s non-fiction in general? Oh sure, dinosaurs and fairy tales are covered, but I’ve got all of one Easy Reader on librarians, none on libraries, and my one? Starting to get a bit dated.
It makes one want to write children’s books. And lots of them.
And then you’ve got that extra limitation of not being able to walk into a Barnes & Noble/clicking on Amazon.com and getting what you need. We work through vendors, who are nice enough to give us a discount, but I can’t say for sure that it’s any better than a B&N coupon. I believe the books come pre-processed, at least. Still, it just means that when something’s out of print, or is by a company that doesn’t work with our vendor, it probably isn’t going to happen.
So that’s where I am right now. Trash cans are filled with grody books, I’m washing my hands all the time, and I’m afraid what the ER non-fiction section is going to look like by the end of this month.