Tuesday, April 29, 2008

There's Something to Be Said for Central Selection

I've met librarians from across the country whose libraries approach collection development from a myriad of directions. In my library, we have both central selection and branch-level selection.

Currently, due to both procedural and staff changes, I'm selecting for three branches as well as serving as a central selector.

I love my duties as a central selector. I ask for suggestions from my colleagues. I peruse the selection and review material. I rarely have trouble spending my budget. That said, as a central selector, I have specific guidelines that I must follow, and I'm generally only choosing paperback fiction. I have a wide selection within a narrow topic.

I also greatly appreciate the opportunity to select materials that are specific to my demographic. Having a healthy budget for my branch means that I can respond directly to the shifting needs in my community. Need more urban fiction? Okay, I'll find some new titles. Middle school science fair coming up? Alrightee, I've got it covered. A flexible branch budget provides nearly infinite opportunities to address the unique requirements of my branch.

Still, selecting for three branches on top of completing central selection is exhausting. It's a bit more exhausting this month as we had the added responsibility of buying our prize books for the summer reading program.

So, to reiterate: I really appreciate that I work in a library system that embraces both modes of collection development. I receive books selected by another central selector that I may never have thought of purchasing -- especially in the graphic novel area -- that are amazing choices. I'm glad that I'm not the only one buying books for my branch.

After completing two big orders for three branches and a central order for eight branches, however, I'm a bit loopy. I've read so many reviews, looked at so many covers and typed so many ISBNs in the past two weeks that I'm mildly convinced every single YA book is about the same exact thing and written by one author using 99 pseudonyms.

So, forgive the loopiness for now. Soon, I'll dive back into finishing Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle Trilogy. After I finish this series and know all there is to know about the Realms, the Order and the Rakshana, I predict I'll be refreshed and ready, once again, to conquer the glorious wealth of books available for YAs these days.

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