Today I was on the front reference desk with Heather again. While the reference desk was slow, she was teaching me about her methods of collection development. Heather is the librarian in charge of the children’s picture books. She is probably the only librarian in the library who actually has the chance to read all of the books she is considering for the collection before she adds them. Picture books are much shorter than most other books, after all.
She begins by reading reviews of picture books in several places: BWI Books, Amazon, Hennepin County Library, Baker and Taylor’s Growing Minds Collection catalog, and Barnes and Noble just to name a few. Amazon and Barnes and Noble are good resources to find out what the public is buying, because that’s usually what they want to read. Heather then compiles a list of possible titles and searches the county catalog to see if other libraries in the area have the book. She then borrows the books from the other libraries and reads them. When choosing a book to add to the collection she evaluates the story, the art, early literacy skill development, entertainment, readability, and ease of language (because if you can’t read it aloud fluidly, then it’s probably not using good language).
I also learned that it’s ok to think of books as ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’ because there is an actual biological difference in the learning process for boys and girls. So it’s really good to buy books that are targeted for boys!
Some of the things I’ve learned from Heather today, I’m going to apply to the board books I’ve chose for the early literacy kits. I will reevaluate my choices using her criteria.
I also had a short half hour meeting with Susan Considine, the Executive Director of the Fayetteville Free Library, about my internship. She didn’t know a lot about what I’ve been doing, so I got to explain what I have done and what the final goals are. I think she’s glad I’m so excited about what I’m doing. But really, reading board books and drawing pictures is probably the best homework I’ve had since kindergarden. How could I not be enjoying myself!? When I told her I was also working with Karen and Leah on revamping the early literacy webpage, she was impressed. We concluded the meeting by scheduling another one in November for me to teach her the basics of social media since it came out that I was really interested in using social media in libraries. Yay!!
(reference internship hours completed: 32 of 75)