A couple of things on ordering:
- We charge $120 to set up your cataloging and processing profile in Follett, not because that part is so much work, but because there is usually a lot of trouble shooting that has to happen on our end along the way. It’s usually more complex than what school library staff can manage!
- We can upload your Marc records to Follett Titlewave so you will see what you already own and not duplicate. Your deletions need to be done first!
- Your books need to be put in lists that correspond with the classification you want the book in. You’ll need the following lists: J P, J Z, J E, J GN and one for everything else. If you don’t feel confident that you know the difference between the classifications, you can put five titles you think belong on each list and we can look at them. Share them with my username (my email address is my username) from within Follett TitleWave. Or you can look the books up in our catalog. It’s unlikely you’ll order something we don’t already own!
- As you select titles, some will be offered in paperback, hardback, library edition or FollettBound. FollettBound means the book has a lifetime guarantee that if it falls apart, they will replace it for free. While tempting, not every book needs to be FollettBound. I would recommend most of your J Z’s and then any really high interest titles like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or popular graphic novels. Avoid buying paperback as much as you can as they will not last.
How do you know what to buy?
This will not be a quick process if you have a good size budget, so you might look at which parts of your collection need to grow the most. Definitely the J Z’s (beginning readers) – no one ever has enough of those. Then you could divide up your budget by percentages. X% for J Z, X % for J FIC, X % for nonfiction, etc.
SUCH a hard question. So many ways to approach it. One easy way would be to do an Advanced Search in Bibliocommons. Choose what level of fiction you’re looking for by “collection.” So, for example, if you wanted to add what IndyPL puts in the J Es (beginning chapter books), choose the “Children’s Easy Chapter Book Fiction” collection. Then sort the results list by publication date so the newest titles are first. Next look at the filters. Do you want to look for a genre? Filter by form/genre. Do you need higher reading level books for your younger grades because they’re such good readers (because they have such a great library)? Choose Reading Level. You could do this for any collection of books: picture books, beginning readers, teen fiction, adult nonfiction, etc. Using this method allows you to draw on the experience and wisdom of our selection librarians – you know, the ones who buy books for a living.
When I was building library collections three careers ago, I went first to the award lists. The ALA award lists, of course, like the Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King and Printz awards. You can find books on these lists in the Kids’ Catalog to see if you already own copies:
There are many more awards on the ALA Youth Media Awards site like the Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences. Although IndyPL doesn’t have that as a separate list, other libraries do. Next to the search box in the catalog, click where it says “keyword” and choose “list” instead. Enter the name of the award and see who’s made lists. Click on the list and see if we own any of the books, or whether you do already!
I always ordered the award books from the associations of math, science, and social studies teachers.
To keep your collection fresh, you need to keep reading. Friday Focus, of course. Both NextReads and Wowbrary are free newsletters about books from your public library. And both can be tailored, the first by subscription type, the second by filtering the newsletter. If you can afford it, subscriptions to review journals such as Horn Book or Kirkus are worthwhile investments. Or just look at some of the links to blogs in Friday Focus and subscribe to those. Follett TitleWave has suggested lists for collection development if you want to hone in on something specific. Feel free to borrow any of the titles you find from IndyPL for a test drive!
There are many more good sources (other Shared System staff, teachers who read a lot, your students, just to name a few).
When you are selecting books, keep your mission in mind. You want people (big people and little people) to find engaging books in your library. Yes, some of you are buying books to support research as well, but you should try always to have available for immediate checkout some of the most engaging books you can find.