Processing these new books is time consuming and tedious. Because I'm in a school library and I'm lucky to even have money to buy books so I won't complain, but none of the programs I use even "talk" to each other so I have to do repeated steps.
- After unpacking the books, I have to enter them all into our computer system so I have an inventory of my collection, and so they're able to circulate (I have to enter all the data like author, title, ISBN number, a bar code number, the price, and subject)
- print the bar code labels and apply them to call the correct books
- place a spine sticker to delineate between fiction and non
- place a spine sticker for genre
- stamp with our "property" stamp in three places and also place a "date due" slip in each
- cover all the books with either laminate or slip covers
- check a different database to see if the books are part of the Reading Counts programs; If they are then I have to sticker the spine AND print a point code label AND affix each label to the correct book
That's just to get them all circulation ready!! I have a student helper for 3 hours a day but she can't do anything on the computer so I do that work while she does all the other steps. I'm happy to say that the only thing she and I have left to do is cover them. I'd like to have them all shelf ready by Tuesday morning since that's "library day."
When I order new books, I need to focus on what the kids want or would like. This is an interesting process. I've talked to different librarians and there doesn't seem to be any perfect way to order books for a high school library.
I always make sure I order books that are part of a series.We have some series that aren't popular and we have the first couple books but others are HUGE so I make sure I stay on top of when the "next one" comes out. I order what's popular among teens and there are publisher magazines to help with that. I watch a couple best seller lists. There's a good list for librarians that's called "adult books for young adults" so I buy from there. Of course I take student recommendations!!! They give me a title and 99% of the time I can order that book. I want to keep a collection of books that the kids WANT to read. Because we're a prison type of school and our students live here, there's LOTS of time to read so I want to have things they're interested in.
Also because we're a prison school my students want to read about things they know. And that's sad. My biggest requests are books about drugs, gangs, rape, sexual abuse, killing, abuse, booze, cutting and suicide. Yeah. And what's really scary and sad, is that I have a large collection of fiction in all these subject areas. Sadly enough, authors are writing it because it sells. My kids also like "normal" teen stuff like sports, romance, vampires, sci-fi, Stephen King (he seems to be his own genre).
Three things frustrate me about teen lit:
- everything seems to be a series. There are more series for teens than stand alone novels and that's a financial nightmare for librarians
- vampires are all the rage and kids seems to hear about these books and want to read them. Gee thanks Twilight. There's Morganvillie Vampires, Vampire Academy, Vladamir Tod, Blue Bloods, Immortals, and House of Night series. This is just what I can think of off the top of my head. And this is what I have in MY library!!!
- It's hard for me to find stuff that boys want to read. I do LOTS of research for them.
I always have to remember that I can't order books for ME. Okay, that seems like a nobrainer but as a bibliophile, it's easy to sit and read a hundred book reviews in a month and suddenly have a list of books "I" want to read. I have to make sure that every book that comes in is something the KIDS will want.
I have to say that I think I ordered books for "me" once. I ordered the Steve Jobs bio. I do want to read it and I've had 3 kids ask for it. I know it has about 700 pages so I probably won't have a lot of kids actually read it but I will. The other book I bought is The Night Circus. I started this book at our public library and didn't get it finished and WANT to finish it so I ordered it. There are a lot of things in that novel that will appeal to my students but I really got it for me. I'm bad. I won't make it a habit and I am sorry and I'll probably buy $25 worth of books out of my own pocket to make up for it at some point, but for now.... well, yeah. Shame on me.
The other thing that I found that was funny is that a kid asked me if we had the Ranger's Apprentice (by John Flanagan) books. We didn't. I did some research and decided to order the series. I had them on the counter and hadn't gotten them hidden for processing yet. I am NOT kidding- I had 9 boys say they read those and they were AWESOME. WHAT?!? NINE?!? I told all those guys that they need to think of things they've read and keep the recommendations coming. Those 9 guys told other guys and now that series has a wait list. I feel like I should order 2 copies of each of the first two books to get them circulating before they lose interest. There are 11 of these so far so they should keep busy for awhile. And volume 3 is on back-order! Ack!
So Monday I'll be a book covering maniac!