It's safe to assume that if you're a regular Corner Shelf reader, you have a strong interest in library collection development. Hopefully, you'll find this issue packed with useful information! As I was putting together the features for this issue, I realized that two of them have to do with new ways of thinking about the work we do. While every library has something unique to offer, the behind-the-scenes work is often the same across institutions of a similar size and type. What if two libraries merged the work they were already doing separately into one shared department? The "Notes From the Field" interview features Christopher Platt and Charlene Rue discussing a fantastic technical services collaboration, BookOps. Meanwhile, "Reference Collections in an Ever-Shrinking Print Environment" may help you explore new ways of thinking about your collection, from circulating your reference books to dumping Dewey.
If you've read any library news over the summer, you're well aware of the weeding horror stories that popped up in Urbana, Illinois, and Highland Park, Michigan, and it looks like there's another one brewing this week over in Fairfax County, Virginia. "Weeding Tips: Weeding Gone Wrong" takes a look at how to manage a successful weeding project and avoid these kind of publicity nightmares.
This issue also features a look at how Baker & Taylor's CATS program offers specialized collection development for youth services ("At the Corner of Baker & Taylor") and closes with a review of the newest edition of Genreflecting (""Reader's Advisory Corner: Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests, 7th Ed.").
As always, I want to know what you'd like to read about in Corner Shelf. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Rebecca Vnuk, Editor, Reference and Collection Management, Booklist
by Rebecca Vnuk
Today's reference librarians rely less on print resources, but print reference collections still occupy prime space in most libraries. And despite the yearly death knell, plenty of high-quality reference works are being published—several dozen items come to my office every month. Sure, the publishing world has started to slow down the quantity and limit the types of reference books, but it hasn't thrown in the towel by any means. And, as noted in last year's "Encyclopedia Update," many library users don't see the world the same way librarians and publishers do; for students and public-library patrons, books divide into fiction and nonfiction. Many patrons don't make the distinction between reference and "regular" nonfiction—it's all simply information.
What does this mean for the average library's reference collection? With more and more libraries weeding their reference shelves, moving titles to circulating collections, and cutting reference budgets, how do librarians still perform excellent reference service, and how do they manage the physical realm of print? Librarians Dave Tyckoson, Melissa DeWild, and Nicolette Sosulski gave their thoughts on the situation at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago this past June, in the Booklist-sponsored program "Fantastic Voyage: Reference Service in an Ever-Shrinking Print Environment," which garnered a standing-room-only crowd. I've summarized some of the highlights from Tyckoson's and DeWild's portion of the program here. You can view the slide-show presentation here.
by Rebecca Vnuk
Earlier this year, the New York Public Library (NYPL) and Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) merged their technical-services departments, creating BookOps, which coordinates the selection-to-shelf activities of over 1.5 million new items and electronic resources annually for 150 library locations across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Christopher Platt of NYPL and Charlene Rue of BPL took the time to talk to me about themselves and the transition to BookOps.
Rebecca: Would you each share a little about yourself and your positions?
Christopher: I am privileged to have worked in and around libraries my entire adult life. I started my public-library career at NYPL, switched to Baker & Taylor's Collection Management unit, and later came back to NYC to oversee selection for Queens Library System. I returned to NYPL just in time to help combine its branch and research technical-services departments into Collections and Circulation Operations and move to its new Library Service Center. After rising to director of that unit I am now, with my colleagues Charlene Rue and Sal Magaddino, so excited to launch BookOps, the technical-services collaboration project of Brooklyn Public Library and NYPL.
Charlene: I started my library career at Columbia University's Butler Library as a page. I eventually found my way to the ILL department, where the librarian recommended me for library school. Upon graduation, I accepted a job at the Brooklyn Public Library. BPL gave me boundless opportunities for experimentation and growth. I worked across a variety of departments: Young Adult, ILL, Access Services, and eventually Collection Development. In the Collection Development department, I managed the selection staff and eventually became the director of Collection Development. I had the good fortune to work with Christopher Platt as a colleague and friend through the years, which makes the BookOps collaboration between BPL and NYPL most meaningful.
by Kaite Mediatore Stover
This series is now 31 years and 7 editions strong since its debut, in 1982. The format has stayed the same: chapters devoted to each major genre with an overview of the genre's characteristics and appeal elements followed by definitions of popular subgenres, lists of benchmark titles, reader favorites, book-group selections, and resources for further investigation. Parts 1 and 2 focus on readers'-advisory services in the public library for the novice. Much of this material can be found in other readers'-advisory tools.
At the Corner of Baker & Taylor: CATS Specialists Offer Customized Approach to Collection Development in Youth Services
Weeding Gone Wrong
Reference Collections in an Ever-Shrinking Print Environment
Notes from the Field: The BookOps Collaboration
Reader's Advisory Corner: Genreflecting, 7th ed.
Baker & Taylor Best-Sellers
CATS Specialists Offer Customized Approach to Collection Development in Youth Services
by Jill Faherty
Young library patrons are vital to the future of public libraries. Many of us remember going to the library in our formative years to work on homework or find the right book. Those habits, established from an early age, can last a lifetime.
Library services for children and teens have certainly changed over the years. With additional programming geared specifically toward early literacy, there is an even stronger emphasis today on retaining young readers as they move into their tween and teen years; in addition, outreach services now extend far beyond the bookmobile. All of these changes sometimes leave youth-services librarians stretched a bit thin.
Baker & Taylor's Children's and Teen Services (CATS) focuses exclusively on the unique needs of building and maintaining collections aimed at young patrons. With our CATS group, the process starts with our people. Our specialists have deep backgrounds in public libraries, and they understand the challenges libraries face when working with tight budgets and small staffs, and under great expectations.
by Rebecca Vnuk
By now, you have probably heard of the two major weeding nightmares that took place over the summer of 2013. Highland Park (MI) High School was accused of throwing out a large collection of history materials, including some rare items, that had been cultivated over a 50-year period. (Highland Park's emergency manager says the collection was thrown out by mistake.) The Urbana (IL) Free Library discarded nearly 10,000 items, apparently just based on age, not condition or use. The discarding was done at the director's command and while the head of adult services was on vacation. (The now-former director stated that the 10-year mark was only the report benchmark and that books were individually evaluated.) While it's hard to find anything good in this story, it should be noted that the library is undertaking a large-scale RFID project, and that is absolutely the time to undergo a massive weed. It's just a shame that it doesn't appear to be a carefully planned process.
It pains me to read about these "bad weeds" for a number of reasons. First and foremost, because I've been there—on the dark side. In 2002, while working for the Chicago Public Library, I was accused by a local politician of destroying books while working on a massive and much-needed weeding project at one of the regional branches. I was part of a team whose members were experienced in collections, and we had a plan to move, replace, and discard a large amount of material—but, unfortunately, that plan did not include a way of communicating with the public to let them know what was going to happen. Luckily for me, I have also worked on weeding projects that went very smoothly, even when working with high numbers of books.
Top-selling books at Baker & Taylor in September for teens, children, and adults.
Top Titles for Teens
- Seven Minutes in Heaven, by Sara Shepard
- Earthbound, by Aprilynne Pike
- Peterson's Master the SAT 2014, by Peterson's
- The Shade of the Moon, by Susan Beth Pfeffer
- Oh, Snap!, by Walter Dean Myers
- Elegy, by Amanda Hocking
- Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, by Matthew Quick
- The Fury, by Alexander Gordon Smith
- 45 Pounds (More or Less), by K. A. Barson
- Bubble World, by Carol Snow
Top Titles for Children
- Click, Clack, Boo!, by Doreen Cronin
- Llama Llama and the Bully Goat, by Anna Dewdney
- Hurry Up, Houdini!, by Mary Pope Osborne
- The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett, by Tom Angleberger
- Good Night, Sleep Tight, by Mem Fox
- Bully, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
- Al Capone Does My Homework, by Gennifer Choldenko
- Peck, Peck, Peck, by Lucy Cousins
- Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat, by Eileen Christelow
- Fright Night, by Geronimo Stilton
Top Titles for Adults
- Mistress, by James Patterson / David Ellis
- The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith
- Rose Harbor in Bloom, by Debbie Macomber
- The Beast, by Faye Kellerman
- The Last Kiss Goodbye, by Karen Robards
- Bones of the Lost: A Temperance Brennan Novel, by Kathy Reichs
- Hotshot, by Julie Garwood
- The Whole Enchilada, by Diane Mott Davidson
- The Last Witness, by W. E. B. Griffin / William E. Butterworth, IV
- The Mayan Secrets, by Clive Cussler / Thomas Perry