With more than 100,000 items on our shelves, Cheshire Library is a busy place! If you’ve ever wondered how many people it takes to keep our collection humming, you can find out in a new series of posts about what goes on behind the scenes at CPL. Today’s subject is Collection Development – or Buying New Stuff.We have several librarians who are in charge of maintaining the different collections here at CPL. Designated staff members are tasked with ordering Adult print materials, Children’s print materials, Teen print materials, Adult audiovisual materials, Children’s audiovisual materials, and Periodicals. For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on the selecting and ordering of Adult print materials.
Deborah Rutter is the Deputy Director of Cheshire Library, and a large part of her job revolves around the development of our Adult print collection. With a dizzying number of books being published each month, Deb must carefully read professional publications like “Library Journal” and “Baker & Taylor Forecast” for reviews and publishing news, in order to select upcoming titles that would be popular with our patrons. Deb says books about gardening, home decor, history, travel, and self-help are always in demand here at CPL, so she always makes sure to order the latest titles in those subjects!
Fiction buying can be a little trickier. In addition to reading professional publications, Deb can often be seen perusing the “New York Times Book Review”, “Book List”, Amazon.com and lots of other book-related websites to stay of top of what’s got “buzz” in the publishing world. Of course, purchasing the latest books by popular authors is a given. Deb also checks to see what the print runs of upcoming books are, and whether they are being released simultaneously as audiobooks in addition to print. Both of these factors can be helpful in figuring out the predicted popularity of a new book.
Once there’s a list of books to buy, it’s time to decide how many copies we should purchase. A lot of this has to do with our current book budget, but a book with an outstanding review, or lot of patron requests, will also help determine how many copies we should buy.
Patron suggestions are always welcome. We buy many of the books that people request, so if there’s a book you’d like to see in our collection, let us know! There’s a handy form on our website for exactly that purpose. Book orders are made about twice a month, as a rule, so suggestions for purchase can often be accommodated quickly.
Selectors have a tough job. Our collection at Cheshire Library is curated with a lot of care and thought, and it shows. In the next behind-the-scenes post, we’ll find out what happens AFTER the books arrive!