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Special Interest Group Meeting Notes: Collection Development 7/14/2021

Notes from the most recent meetings of special interest groups at Southeastern

September 29, 2021

The Collection Development Special Interest Group met on September 29, 2021. The meeting was held via Zoom, and was facilitated by Debra Bucher of Vassar College.


Collection Development SIG – September 29, 2021

*Names of participants have been withheld due to privacy concerns*.

This was the third meeting of the Collection Development Policy SIG.

We began the session by a discussion of what our favorite fall activities are.  We got a variety of responses including making applesauce, cool weather gardening, hiking in the woods, decorating for Halloween, hoola hooping, knitting, baking and eating Halloween candy.

Please list one happy situation and one concern about collection development at your library.

One public librarian stated that she is happy to be ordering consciously and will continue to expand the library’s diverse nonfiction book collection. A patron came in requesting a book that was called Debunking the 1619 Project.  The patron was very irked that we hadn’t heard of it, nor ordered it.  It was explained that we generally order books that are reviewed in journals.  He angrily stated that we only purchase “left-leaning” books.

Another public librarian stated that they have been working on a massive weeding project.    She said they have received both positive and negative feedback about the project.  While the public enjoys the neatness/ease of browsing that comes from cleaning up a collection, some have worried about “what happens” to discards.

A third public librarian mentions that they are worried about supply chain issues that seem to never end.  Because her library is part of a school district, they have a convoluted way of ordering things.

A college librarian did not do any collection development (purchasing) for a year.  They only ordered items if a faculty member requested them for a class.  Now they are trying to catch up on ordering some of the items they never purchased last year.  They received a Black Studies grant, so they are using that.  In addition, in order to save money, they are now purchasing special hard cover books from Midwest tape.  They are softcover books with a special after-market cover put on which costs $9 “extra” per book.  This saves them $20-$40 per book. 

Another public librarian is working on matching results from the 2020 Census with their purchasing.  So, if 20% of their patrons are Latinx, they will purchase 20% in either Spanish or with a Latinx character(s), etc.  They have found their Latinx and Creole collections are underrepresented.

A college librarian has been working on a massive downsizing/weeding project.  They are also working on increasing diverse books, and they find that English Professors are requesting more diversity in literature as well. 

A third college librarian mentioned that her college still has books on the Eugenics Movement.  Some patrons feel that the books should be REMOVED from the college but other students can use the information for research for projects or papers. 

Another college librarian mentioned that they did a massive weeding project in 2020 (it seems many libraries did since they were closed and had the time to do so).  Moving forward, the library is more focused on/will have eBooks, ProQuest, Films on Demand and a Nursing Collection and a McNaughton Rental. 

Speaking of ordering, a public librarian mentioned that she does NOT have time to read the various journals that she receives each month.  It was pointed out that School Library Journal and Library Journal have “All Stars” listed on their last page which condenses their magazines “top picks” into just one page. 

This discussion then branched out into a fairly intense discussion about amazon (because Baker and Taylor and Midwest have been slow to ship items in 2020 and 2021, some librarians reported that they are now ordering items from amazon because they are so fast).

It seems that many librarians did not wish to purchase from amazon but felt they had no choice at the time because patrons need or want materials “tomorrow” and of course the library wants to please the patron and etc.   Many towns either have an amazon warehouse or have one close by, so if a book, CD or movie is in stock, it can arrive at the library in lightning speed.

One librarian mentioned that because one-click ordering is so easy, her mother-in-law would pay to order books from amazon rather than getting  them for free from the (librarians) parents’ book store.  L

There is a need for a facilitator for the next meeting which is scheduled in December.  The date will be determined at a later point.  At least one librarian offered to consider the role, and others will be contacted via email to see if they have an interest in leading the next Collection Development Group SIG.

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065