As the director of the library, I wear a lot of hats. On any given day, you might find me leading a book club, tightening toilet seats, paying bills, or organizing a new display.
One of my most important tasks is collection development for the adult library. Deciding what to spend a limited budget on can be intimidating and a little overwhelming, especially since time is limited.
Luckily, there are a couple of great services to help me with this. One of the biggest time savers for me is the Automatically Yours service through Baker & Taylor. I choose all of the authors whose books we definitely want to add to the collection and they send them to us whenever something new comes out. This also includes nonfiction authors and a number of children’s series. We get the books a few days early so we have time to catalog and get them ready to go. That means they are on the library shelves the day they are released. If you want to read whatever Jodi Picoult, Lee Child, or David Sedaris is writing or pick up the newest Dog Man book, we have you covered!
There is another automatic service we’ve been using for quite some time that I’m not sure I could do without. Every month we get two dozen new large print books in categories such as fiction, nonfiction, mystery, inspirational, and western.
I always try to keep patron wants and needs in mind, so I recently rearranged the categories to increase the number of Inspirational titles we receive. These are mostly Christian- and Amish-themed books and are some of the most popular in the library.
Another tool that’s a little different but still important to collection development is patron requests. If there is something you want to read that you think belongs in our collection, let us know. I review all the requests and purchase as many as possible.
The decision comes down to a few factors: Does it fill a need in the collection, will it be useful to others in the community, and do we have the budget? If so, we will purchase it and let you know when it’s available. If not, there is always the option to use interlibrary loan (ILL). We will request the item from another library in Iowa for $2 or for no fee if it is available in large print or audio. I hope there is something for everyone in our collection. If there isn’t, we will do what we can to get it for you.
In library news, the Friends of the Library held its book sale in April and had the most successful sale yet; thank you to everyone who came and supported the library!
Tickets to the Friends of the Library/Jackson County Historical Society impersonator dinner featuring Jean Baptiste and the story of Lewis and Clark is sold out for Friday, May 24, in Maquoketa; tickets for Thursday, May 23, at Flatted Fifth in Bellevue are going quickly.
Lastly, summer is fast approaching, which means the Summer Reading program is just around the corner. We will have reading challenges and programs for children, teens, and adults. I will have more details to share next month. We have an exciting theme and Miss Colleen has lined up some great entertainment for our young patrons.
Until then, happy reading, and I hope to see you at the library.
– Katie Pauls is the executive director of Maquoketa Public Library. She can be reached at email@example.com.