07 August 2008

How do libraries choose books? Part #2

So after talking with some librarians and some library book purchasers, this is what I have concluded our libraries policies are on not only buying books but also getting rid of books. In interviewing the library staff I asked the following questions and everyone gave me satisfactory answers:
1. Do you just pick books from the top 10 best sellers? - Answer is no
2. Do you buy patron requested or recommended books? - Answer was a big yes!!! (There is hope!)
3. Do you choose books based upon moral content or popular thinking? - for answer see below
4. What would cause you to get rid of books from your library shelves? - see below

Most of these libraries do rely on recommended books for the purchasing lists and they rely on their patrons but also on Library Journals. I talked with one library staff who reads the School Library Journals as they have a comprehensive list for her. She also has a source of a book counsel in her town that basically between a number of people reads every single book that comes out every year! Wow, that is quite the job to sort through! Basically, this counsel then reviews every book and categorizes them into themes, age groups, teaching helps. This counsel then recommends the books to the local library and it is up to the purchaser to go through and pick and choose which book they would like to buy.

Library's policies on getting rid of books seems to be based on a scheduled collection evaluation. Every so often a library goes through every single book. They check age of the book, condition of the book, circulation of the book and make sure there is no dated information in the book that may misinform a reader. Make sense to me and probably you too.

So my conclusion is that we as parents, child care givers, grandparents, teachers...need to be reading critically, we need to be talking about the good books, we need to be sharing good literature and speaking up about the bad literature; we need to concentrate on what we are putting into the minds of our youth. Who are the people on these book counsels? I wasn't given any names but it literally could be anyone. Read the classics, let the library know what the good books are and they will take notice. If we sit by and just read the junk, the good books may slip off the library book sale's rack for $1 or less so they get it out of their system.