poor selection practices, I bring you part two.
7. Buy heavily in areas you like (cats; dogs; babies; horses; crafts; dad-daughter books) and ignore or shortchange the rest. We all love certain stuff and sniffily disdain other things we personally don't care for. A great selector pretends to be everyman and everywoman and buys widely and well in areas they have no personal stake in or love for. Recognizing your passions and realizing that they are not the only ones are signs you are going in the right direction.
8. Never weed books that you read and loved as a child. A corollary of the above. Getting to know the difference between a true classic that should be kept as opposed to your heart-stopping book adoration of your younger days is critical. It's always hard to bid farewell to something YOU think EVERYBODY should be reading - but they aren't. Sometimes buying a used copy for your own home library is the best solution to that heartache.
9. Buy lots of series non-fiction. While there are some stellar non-fiction series for kids, many are more marginal - poorly written, ho-hum photos like your Uncle Bob used to take, and often rubber stamp "revisions" that change a photo or two or add a box of new information and get a new copyright date to entice you to "update" the series every 5 years. These series can definitely have a place in areas that kids are ravenous to get their hands on anything (dinosaurs! crafts! transportation! pets!). But they can be a budget sink hole in other areas - buy two copies of a great book detailing all the animals in a particular species for $15.99 each or buy ten single books on ten different animals within this species for $23.00 each?
10. Don't weed - and if you have to, try not to do it more often than annually or biennially or every five years. Another critical area. "I bought those books, I can't just get rid of them". Weeding is one of those easy things to do if you spend a little time daily/weekly in the collection, straightening, looking at what comes and goes; is used or unused; necessary or just a bit too much in the same area/subject. Rather than waiting to do it once in a while, regular weeding keeps the collection fresh and provides a far less stressful experience than wading in once in a blue moon. It also makes it more manageable to quickly look up replacements or do a literature search to strengthen a small area of the collection on an on-going basis.
11. Practice extreme ownership over areas you select in and don't let colleagues make suggestions or add other material. A truly diverse collection reflects many viewpoints and many strengths. Involving and inviting other staffers to put their oar in only makes for a stronger collection. No selector should ever own a collection. Practice generosity in selection and watch the materials fly off the shelves.
12. Never respond to patron requests. "Bleeh, they just want junk". On the other hand, they pay for every book and material and your salary. Give patrons what they want (if it falls within your collection policy). You may actually discover something new or areas you were unknowingly deficient in. You'll still have plenty of budget to get great literature. But you'll have won the trust of your bosses.
What bad selector ways have you seen, read about or observed? Dish!
Graphic courtesy of Pixabay