Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Clearing out in the new year, or why what you read really does make a difference.

Happy new year, everyone! We've been a bit quiet over the holidays. I can't believe how many of the other bloggers have been writing every day through the madness. Good for you!

I've just finished a round of critiques for this evening's meeting. They were revisions to stories that Slushies have been working on for a while. I love these kinds of critiques, because I get to see how far the story has come since I first read it. One of them was a story that had been shelved for a while, but it's one of our favorites, and it definitely deserves a fighting chance, so I'm glad it's back in revision-land.

I've been working on a project at the library the past week or so, which I thought might interest you. I've been weeding our young adult fiction. Weeding is kind of the library version of inventory. We check the circulation on each item. If it hasn't been checked out in say, two years or more, we give it a good, hard look and evaluate whether or not it deserves to stay on our shelves. With the limited space in a small library, sometimes we have to be brutal. There are other factors, such as whether it is an award winner, or if the author is generally well-known, or whether or not other branches have the book. But the main criteria for keeping something is if someone has read it recently. Even one checkout can make the difference.

This is where you come in. If you checked out one of these books I'm looking at, you may have inadvertently cast a vote as to whether it stays or goes. If you recommended that book to a friend, and she checked it out, between the two of you, the circulation just went from a zero to a two in the past year. Another vote for keeping the book. If you recommended it to a book club, therefore increasing the circulation of every copy in our system, well, you've likely just insured the book will stay on our shelves for quite a while.

Before I worked at the library, I knew I could request they purchase a book. That was as far as I thought my influence as a patron went. I don't think people consider their role in keeping their favorite books on the shelves once the library owns them. So recommend a favorite to a friend!


The Proverbial Shopper said...

It's a George Bailey moment when we realize how many people we influence.

Michelle said...

True! Especially when it's not an obvious influence, as in the role of a teacher or something.

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

I'm sure I've kept many a book on the shelf at my local library.

We can all make a difference in life, even if we have no idea what it is at the time. The mind boggles!

Happy New Year, Stephanie, Bridget, Sarah, Michelle, Joan, Alison, Lisa!

Michelle said...

Thanks, Wendy!

Tess said...

really? that is very interesting...I'll be checking out some of my older, classic favs just to keep them available for my little ones.

Nora MacFarlane said...

What happens to the ones that get evicted?

Michelle said...

Tess, some of the ones that don't circulate stay just because they are classics. Like I'd avoid weeding a Newbery book, even if it hadn't gone out in a while.

Nora, the old books go to the Friends of the Library Book Sale. The money raised from the sale funds programs. Like summer reading, the kids' book clubs, films, etc.