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Special Interest Group Meeting Notes: Collection Development 6/14/2023

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

Collection Development 6/14/2023

The meeting was held hybrid at Southeastern and online via Zoom. It was hosted by Yoly Avella of Newburgh Public Library


Policies for buying books.


How is the book budget decided?

  • It’s based off previous years - they try to use what they can

  • Public library - book budget is not always known, but they try to spend what they can. The fiscal year ends in June and then they can’t order for a month. (It makes it hard to purchase June releases, and the orders need to be finalized by May.)

  • We are a special district library but the school district collects our budget and distributes according to their schedule.

    • We often spend a third of the year in a freeze.

    • They are also July-June

  • Academic librarian: also has a month freeze with limited spending - they order according to curriculum, not much leisure reading. 

  • They don’t get a specific amount of money to allocate towards subjects


How do you work together when there are multiple people ordering books?

  • Middletown & Newburgh try to coordinate so they don’t order the same thing. 

  • Often based on librarian interest - but not a written policy.

  • Public: distribution is above my pay grade but my understanding is that there's one pot for "books" whether that is print or electronic or audio

    • all adult librarians are able to suggest books and department head makes final determination

  • Public: they divide collection development among the staff by subject. Children’s do their own. Department heads don’t get the final decision. 


Catching up with summer releases when the freeze is over - try to keep a balance when the fall books come out and the demand for summer books has eased.

Public: The community is changing, and they need to revise the amounts they order. 

Other libraries in the system are able to get the books and they see them come through interlibrary loan - the circ numbers don’t go to them.


Is there a policy on how to select the books? 

  • Choice magazine, choice cards for nonfiction

  • Publisher’s weekly 

  • Booklist

  • we use book reviews and sometimes we target an area like medical or travel where we weed and then replace

  • Ingram’s iPage


Book buying policies in light of book bans

Academic: they’re not happening as much in our library, it’s a different world. Their usage is mostly databases and academic journals, so it’s hard to order $1,000s of books if they’re not going to be used by students. The students go to the public library for leisure reading. 

Public: They haven’t had a formal challenge yet, but someone who has asked at the desk. 

They need to update their policies for digital and database materials. 

Should the local history room have a separate policy? 


Regular weeding is still a problem. 

Public: They are responsible for weeding their own section (they are put on a cart and they go away.) There’s rules about the books that can’t be given away or sold. 


Mcnaughton - it’s a leasing program for adult fiction so that they can go back after some time. 

Academic: They went with purchasing them instead so they’re not rotating anymore.

Can you even recycle books that have plastic library binding? 

Better world books can help when you have a huge weeding project. 


How have you been purchasing more diverse books? 

Many of them work with small or independent publishers so they don’t get as much coverage.

Academic: it’s more on my mind now than it was 7 years ago, but you have to go outside of the main distributors. 

Sometimes the vendors don’t have the books that people want, and sometimes books that patrons want are only available on Amazon, but the library doesn’t have the ability to order from there. 

some of what ends up in curated lists on iPage isn't reviewed.  Ingram has a team of selectors who are librarians - I am a member of REFORMA which serves Spanish language community and they have book buzzes a couple of times a year.

With Baker & Taylor - they’re frequently out of stock. Is there a better Spanish book vendor?

The other public only has Spanish-language books in the children’s section, but no adult books. 

They have a small adult French collection, and they are working on updating it.  There is a Hatian Creole speaking community. 

Arabic is one of the top languages in Newburgh, and Mandarin is high on the list as well. How would you order those books if you don’t know the language at all?


Is there a distinction between print and e materials? 

Academic: only the director sees those stats. They have a separate system for ebooks. They don’t really get to pick the ebooks. The collections come as a package deal. 

Public: The rate of ebook borrowing went up since Covid, the question is if it should be kept up over the next year. 

Kids and teens want the real books - the seniors prefer the ebooks




Listening to audio books is reading!

Do you purchase large print books? Academic - they do not.

There’s a longer wait for large print. 

But there’s an active large print collection, mostly for seniors. 

Teens and young people also like large print - fewer words per page. There used to be some in schools as well.Thorndike does children's grade 4 and up.


We’re having the same questions & concerns with budgets and policies. Even though we’re different libraries, we are in the same place. 


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