'At FCL - if there's a new book a patron wants - we'll order it. That's how some of our collection development is done.' [this quote is from Kevin Yezbick, a student near where the Super Patron lives, and was quoted in the Super Patron post]Now, that's not too spectacular. I suspect almost every library buys books that patrons ask about that aren't in the catalog. The patrons are always surprised that we would buy books (at least at our library) based on their requests, but are pleased that we do so. To be honest, even with the wide variety of interests that the staff has, there are LOTS of books we miss and I'm glad that the patrons can bring them to our attention. Here's the real deal of what the Super Patron's post was about [still from Kevin]:
'My friend was dreaming of a tool that would enable patrons to purchase books for the library that they wanted the library to have--and be put on the hold list for that item automatically. Now--books are already purchased by the patrons through the library funds--but she wanted to see how patrons could purchase books specifically that they wanted...over and above taxes and whatnot.'Well, I can't speak for everyone, but I know that the Princeton Public Library uses an Amazon wish list to maintain a list of books that the library would like to add to its collection. It wouldn't be difficult to also have these books put on hold for the person who buys them.
However, to me it would seem that having the library place purchase requests is still the easiest way to do this. At our library, a hold is placed for the book for the person who made the purchase request. That way, when the book comes in, it gets set aside for them.
Mayeb it's just me, but having the patron buy the book in the first place (why wouldn't they just keep the book?) seems counter-productive. Of course, it could be that the library has a small collection development budget, or the patron is looking to create some sort of tax write-off (although you'd need to buy a lot of books to make that worthwhile!) and in that case, the patron buying books makes sense. Unless you use some sort of service like the Amazon wish list or the purchase request system(where the books are bought and sent directly to the library without the patron handling them) there's no point in putting the book on hold for the patron. Obviously if the patron physically bought the book, he/she already has the book in his/her possession and it would be silly to give it to the library and then expect it to be placed on hold.
My question is, why didn't I learn about these types of things in my collection development class in college? How come we didn't have some sort of a project where we developed a way to organize collection development? I.e. do you write all your purchases down on note cards, or in a spreadsheet, or in a notebooks? How do you keep track of purchase request books? Of replacement books? Your library may or may not have policies (it probably doesn't) and every librarian likely does something different. I think it would be very cool to have a project for class wherein you develop a strategy for keeping track of your collection development. You could try to develop a contact at Baker & Taylor to get test/student accounts to place orders for books and then track them. Just something I've been thinking about. Maybe I should adjunct. :)
This isn't to say that I didn't learn anything in my collection development class. We talked a lot about how to determine what should go in your collection based on your community's needs. That's important, but it's also important to get some practical advice/experience (even in a school oriented assignment) on how you actually do collection development: do you submit your purchases to one librarian who does ALL the buying, do you do your own buying, do you have to get purchases approved, etc. You could set up different scenarios for the students and have them come up with ways that they would work in those situations. Again, just me thinking out loud.
Tags: libraries, collection development, patrons