Developing and Cataloging

It’s November, so it seems appropriate that I’m visiting a new librarian tomorrow to talk turkey about Collection Development and Cataloging.

Collection Development:

Back in the day when I was a ‘real librarian’ at a mid-sized public library, we dedicated 20% of the budget to Collection Development.  NEKLS said the Library had to dedicate “not less than 12% of its total operating expenditures for purchase of library materials” – so Kudos to my former Board for being over-achievers.  Last I heard, the CD line is still at 20%.

I bought most of our materials through Ingram’s ipage because we got a fat discount as a NEKLS service, but I used CD aids from other companies to help figure out what to buy.  I looked at Library Journal for reviews of adult fiction and non-fiction.  I also liked their articles about high-demand non-fiction like crafting and home repair (recent example article: “Quick Fixes“).  I liked that LJ published both positive and negative reviews.

The other popular review journal is  Booklist and they only publish positive reviews…but my buddy Kaite Mediatore Stover is the Chair of the Advisory Board and they do a great “Spotlight on Romance” edition (vol. 107, no. 2), so I won’t badmouth them.  😉

For pre-publication information, I loved Baker and Taylor’s Booking Ahead. It provides print run information – a really good indication of what items will be Best Sellers.  So, if you look at the September 2010 (.pdf) issue, you can see that it provides title, author, ISBN, price, pagination, overview, print run, dimensions and dewey classification info on books to be published in November.  This gives you plenty of time to get in an early order.  I would print them out, scribble notes in the margins, share the print out with staff to get their input and then head over to Ingram to place the order.  If I didn’t procrastinate, I could get the items delivered to the library before or on the release date.  This made for happy readers.

For Children’s and Young Adult materials, including Graphic Novels, I used BWI “What’s new?” – you can sign up for a free BWI account without ordering anything from them.  Owned by Follett, I think they still employ collection development librarians to help create these aids.  I loved them when they were based out of Kentucky.  Nothing like a Southern accent on the phone to make a problem seem less severe.

Midwest Tapes is a very good source for Audio-visual materials, including audiobooks, movies and music CDs.  They use the ‘rotten tomatoes‘ site to help with reviews.  Again, you can register for free.

There are also the brutally honest user reviews and comments at  Buying from them was painful, so I didn’t use them much.  Maybe they’ve simplified the tax-exemption process since 2008?

I need to find out where Nortonville and Tonganoxie buy their Video Games from…I think Amazon and they rely on suggestions for purchase.  I’m not a gamer, nor a Graphic Novel reader…so I would have to get outside help for both of those collections.

For the library I’m visiting tomorrow, I ran a Koha report that lists titles borrowed by her patrons from other libraries so far this year.  I’d say if a title was borrowed 5-1o times so far this year, it’s probably one that should be in the collection.  I can share the SQL, if anyone is interested.

I’ve spouted poetic about my love for weeding several times – here and at  Bottom line – use the CREW manual (weeder’s bible).


I’m an artistic type who loves to catalog…go figure.  I understand that ‘creative cataloging’ is a bad thing.  Consistency and rules and anal retention are what’s called for.  So, to help new libraries do it right, we have them fill out a Cataloging Go Bys (.xls) spreadsheet. For example, it tells volunteer catalogers that for Adult Fiction, use the F AUTHOR call number scheme, the BOOK Item type, the FICTION Collection code and the ADULT Shelving location.

Kudos to Kathleen at Bonner Springs Library for sharing this idea with the rest of us!

I think I’ll post more about this in the future.  Heather and I are working on some Cataloging 101 workshops and she has worked through the process for our Nancy at Barnes Reading Room in Everest – she’s cataloging from cards.  Woot for retrospective conversion.


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