HOW TO: Collection Development on the Fly

It’s time for that little bit of money to be spent and quickly or it will be spent by someone else. You haven’t had any time to work on an order and you don’t want to make a mistake. Look to the lists below to help you find all kinds of exciting books, DVDs, and audio books that should be in your library.

Every title on every YA list will not be automatically suitable for your collection. To double-check yourself, when you add a title to your order list, you can quickly skim the reviews provided by your jobber to see if an item matches your needs. Look to the sections for older readers in the children’s lists for other titles, especially if you serve middle school age.

YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens
YALSA Printz Award and Honor Books
YALSA Amazing Audios for Young Adults
YALSA Fabulous Films for Young Adults
YALSA/ALSC Odyssey Award

ALSC Notable Children’s Books
ALSC Notable Children’s Videos
ALSC Notable Children’s Recordings
ALSC Newbery Award and Honor Books
ALSC Sibert Informational Book Medal and Honor Books

Projects of the Children’s Book Council in collaboration with ALA and other professional organizations:
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12

When the kids come in with files from Office 2010 and Mac Office we always have issues. Our machines have Windows XP and Office 2003. How do we cope?
1. Google Docs is your friend. In almost any situation, Google Docs will take a file and open it so that a student can edit, print, save in another format.
2. Teaching students how to save in another format is NOT a waste of time but a time saver when the going gets tough. We prefer Rich Text because that format is available in all the platforms with all the software.
3. Emailing files can help provide evidence that the student had the work, they just can’t open it today. If we get the chance we try to ask them to copy and paste the document into their message, rather than attach it. Then we can copy and paste into our available word processing program or print directly from email.
4. Open Office is important for those students who have a computer but no money for software. Become familiar with it so you can help.

Coping with out of date technology is the fine art of making it work for your patrons. They can struggle to make technology work too, they just don’t obsess about it. They find a way around it. Take their attitude and make it your own.

And a great time was had by all!

What an interesting group of presenters and authors.’  This Symposium really brought the mind’s focus around to incorporating diversity in all aspects of your collection – print, non-print, and web-based.’ ‘ I particularly liked the fact that some of the authors gave us lists’ of their favorite diverse books (Cynthea Liu – and that booktalks were everywhere.

I’ came home with lots of lists to use in buying and creating my own more diverse resource lists and in making displays.’ I came home energized and excited’ to try my own’ 30 books in 30 minutes program and Yack and Snack book discussion group.’ ‘ I came home with determination to promote my audio collection to teachers as well as students.’  And I came home with two autographed copies of Pat Mora’s Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love‘  (Knopf, 2010) for my high school boys who will copy’ the poems’ for their girlfriends.

Hurray YALSA!’  Conference job well done.

Displays can be so important in encouraging teens to read or to broaden their reading habits.’  And there is nothing more satisfying for a teen librarian than to have a book display emptied out by teen readers.

So how do you accomplish these wonders?’  And how do you do it without spending money?’  It’s called the power of suggestion.’  You don’t have to have real palm trees or lounge chairs to create an illusion that suggests the feeling of a beach.’  A little sand, a miniature Barbie lounge chair, and the tiny dessert pails from Logan’s Road House will do the trick.’  Suggestion and illusion are the keys because what you really want are for teens to initially be attracted to the display (Oh, that’s neat!) but then to be drawn to the books.’  You are “selling” books.’  And you know you can do it as well, if not better, than the bookstores.

Use a tabletop, a display stand, a chair stationed by an easel, or a piece of your circulation desk. Try placing some books standing and some books lying flat and consider using bookends only if you absolutely have to. (You want it to be easy for a teen to take a book.) Use pieces of cloth or colored Kraft paper or construction paper to give color and define your space.’  Tie in the color or type of material to the theme if possible. (I have even used the comics section of the newspaper for a humor display.)’  Make sure you have a sign (8.5X11 computer generated backed by colored 9X12 construction paper is great) that gives the title/theme/slogan you have chosen.’  I use some scissors I got at a yard sale that cut scallops to add a little extra to the edges.

Here are a few specific theme ideas for book displays using recycled, free, cheap, or borrowed materials to get your creative juices flowing.

Author themed display: Find a picture of the author you can print out in 8X10 inch size and place it in a borrowed frame.’  Photoshop yourself or a teen in the picture to create real interest!’  Place flamboyant bookmarks with notes about the books sticking out, such as “Newest Richard Peck Title!” or “Peck Wins Newbery Honor With This Book!”

Beach theme: “Beachcomber’s Choice” with real shells scattered on a borrowed beach towel and books standing amid them.’  Forget the sand but use an old piece of driftwood to give some height if you have one.’  Otherwise a plastic beach bucket turned upside down will also work.

School spirit theme: Use the cheap paper boxes sold at home decorating stores to spell out your school initials.’  Spray paint them one of your school colors if you have some left over paint or use poster paint or cheap markers to color.’  Add curling ribbons to make it festive and place books set in schools in your display. “Back to School” or “High School Fiction” might work for a theme.

Sports theme: “Football Fever is Catching” using a goal post made from fat drink straws and a gridiron lined off on big green paper will provide a backdrop for all your football sports books, both fiction and non-fiction.’  Free pom-poms or shakers from college football games make it fun. Add some purchased bookmarks with football themes if you have funds.’  The same can work for soccer or basketball but you will need some mesh from an orange bag for the nets.’  Beware!’  If you use a purchased miniature toy frame, teens will want to play with them, so decide beforehand if you want that to happen.

Fantasy theme: “Out of this World Reading” can accompany a publisher’s planet poster used as the backdrop for books or use an old pair of sheer curtains to scrunch up on the tabletop and look otherworldly. A few aluminum foil covered stars and glitter on the title poster add to the allure.

I’m sure you guys can think of thousands more of these cheap and easy ideas now that you are revved up.’  Have fun!

“Do you have a Lost and Found?” she asked.
“No, that’s in the office,” I said.
“NO! the book,” she had said, exasperated by my lack of understanding.
Duh! I was tired and it was last period on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving holiday.
We looked in the online catalog. Zero copies available.
“Where is the drama?” she asked next.
I started to point out the plays in the 800’s.
“NO! Ms. P!” she frowned.
I asked what kind of drama.
“Whatever,” she said dismissively and turned to go.
She looked back near the door and said “Bye, Mrs. P.”

Well, so I had not totally lost her trust (she did say Bye) because she knows I read all the books but I had really gotten lost in my library terminology and failed to help her find the type of book she was willing to read. The term “drama” has somehow become what teen girls mean when they are asking for realistic fiction. The closest the online catalog terms come is High Schools – Fiction.

This calls for a display – don’t you think?