The Six Emotional Stages of Weeding a Teen Fiction Collection

For the last week, I have been weeding the teen fiction collection in preparation for 2016 and all of the wonderful books that haven’t been printed yet. As I do so, I find that I have some very conflicting emotions. Any of you who manage a print collection probably have experienced a similar roller coaster while weeding.

  1. First I feel glee! Finally! I will be able to fit all of the books on the shelf again and still have some space! They’ll also be in order because let’s face it, those teen volunteers do a good job at shelf reading but there’s nothing like a librarian’s over-sensitive eye to put books in their place. It’s going to look nice and clean and organized like it hasn’t for a few months.
  2. Then I feel fear. What if I’m about to weed a book I shouldn’t. Maybe it’s going to show up on the high school reading list! Maybe they’ll turn it into a movie or a tv show and people are going to be demanding copies of the book to read. What if this book right here is the next [enter super popular YA title here] and i’m making a terrible mistake?!
  3. And then it’s on to rationality. Well, if it was going to be a sensation, chances are it would have happened earlier on. I mean, this book was published in 2008. What’s the likelihood it’ll kick off now? And really, how many copies of The Hunger Games do we really need?
  4. And then it’s back to smug happiness. Look how pretty the shelves are all organized and orderly and with room to spare. It makes the teen area look bigger somehow.
  5. And then fear again. Are people going to look at the shelves now and start to ask where all the books went? We already have those people who tell us that the world is coming to an end because ebooks are the downfall of all humanity and blah blah blah. Will they take this as the harbinger of doom and start demanding that the libraries do this or that or the other to counteract the scourge of the ereader?
  6. And then I just feel fine because I’m a librarian and this is what I am good at. I nurture my collection to reflect the community I serve and as tastes and interests change, so do the items on the shelf. I listen to my community and I am confident that my decisions are in accordance with their needs and interests.

Confidence wins! And the teen space really does look nicer this way. I should do this more often.


Internship Day 15

Today I actually started a shopping cart on Baker and Taylor for the board books Karen has approved on my list. It was pretty exciting. Heather logged me in and I went through and added 23 board books to the cart. I hope to add some more next Wednesday after Karen has a chance to look at the copies of some of the other titles I checked out of the library to evaluate. Ordering the music is going to be a little more complicated since the library’s usual supplier doesn’t carry some of the albums I picked. Karen also gave me some suggestions for other board books in the categories we are using, so I placed several more holds.

At the reference desk I worked on the reference book evaluation project Monica gave me. There are some very fine but very old books in the collection. Today I evaluated two titles (each 3 volumes long) on the birds and the wildflowers of central new york. Two of the  Birds of Central New York volumes contained detailed descriptions of the birds, their habits, feeding patterns, etc. The third volume was all colored illustrations of the birds. The wildflower books were similar, one volume of illustrations and two volumes of descriptions. My recommendation is to weed them from the collection since we have much more recent bird and wildflower books that contain color photographs. Not to mention the great web resources I found.

(reference internship hours completed: 36 of 75)
(YS internship hours completed: 37 of 75)

Internship Day 14

I spent the first part of the morning doing some more board book evaluations (thanks to Heather’s guidelines), and looking for board books about baby sign language and bath time to fill in some gaps. When Storytime was over I shared with Karen all of the things I had done for the two weeks she was gone and she liked my ideas for the bag designs. I then sat down with Heather for a few minutes to find out about getting a set of bibliographic records from the cataloging office downtown so we could re-catalog our existing early literacy kits and have a record ready when the baby kits are done.

I had time for a little more board book research before a Youth Services meeting. I learned about some more programs coming up at the library. Penny took us around the children’s room after the meeting to show us what she and Heather had come up with for rearranging the children’s room. There’s going to be a board book corner, a nicely shaped picture books area, and some new technology like a DVD screening room and a listening station for CDs.

Then I joined Monica on the reference desk for two hours where I finished the last three pages of the continuing purchases list. I explained some of my recommendations to keep or cut titles and she said she’d use my suggestions! Then we had just enough time for Monica to explain what she wants me to do with the next set of titles. I’m going to be looking at each and every book in the library reference collection starting with the oldest. I’m going to be examining each title to determine if the information is dated, available online, and if the book is in a good condition. I will then be making suggestions for weeding. This is gonna be fun!

I am such a nerd.

(reference internship hours completed: 34 of 75)
(YS internship hours completed: 31 of 75)

Internship Day 13

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)

Internship Day 8

I should probably think of a new way of titling these internship posts. Then again, it will be interesting to see how many days I end up with. Anyways, today I was on the reference desk for 4 hours with Monica. As a result of some internal restructuring and new allocation of library departments, Monica is the new ReferenceDirector of Reference Services and librarian in charge of the nonfiction section. As such, she is now in charge of the remaining 57 hours of the reference portion of my internship. In order to give me a better understanding of what librarians do, she’s allowing me to assist her on a project to reevaluate all of the library’s reference resources, print and electronic. She’s starting me with the reference books that are on automatic order such that when a new version comes out, we get the new volume (like Guinness Book of World Records, exam prep guides, almanacs, etc). I looked at about 30 books today comparing them to our online databases and free online resources to see if they are redundant. I’m excited to be part of this project because I’m going to be learning about an important part of collection development and assessment.

(reference internship hours completed: 18 of 75)