Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Collection Development Stats. and Circs.

      One of the best parts of being a librarian (to me) is collection development. I love ordering books and I love when people check them out. It is a simple process that makes me unbelievably happy. Everytime I see a patron taking home a book that I ordered I feel like I have done my job. Since I order nonfiction I agonize over my orders. Would this title check out more than this one? Which one has more images? Does it have color images vs black and white? Maybe I overthink this, but when I get my stats reports every month and my circulations are up in a particular area, it is a good feeling.

     Every community is different and you do have to know your community. I have always heard this phrase but kind of brushed it off as a na├»ve librarian. Now I know. I know that at my library  cookbooks with color images (preferably an image on every page) will check out ten times more than anything else. I also know that political science books about current events are not going to do so well (which is fine by me because they become dated pretty quickly). WWII and Civil War materials will also circulate very well, but Civil Rights isn’t going to move at all. Computer books will go out a bunch, but people will always gravitate towards the For Dummies books (I am slowly teaching my patrons that Teach Yourself Visually is a better and a more informative series). Dogs books rank higher than any other animal book, even though raising chickens and horses aren’t far behind (sorry cat lovers!). Everyone loves a new fad diet and yoga is always popular. Test Prep books (GED, GRE, ASVAB, and ACT) never go out of style.

    Since this is my favorite part of my job, I thought I would share some of the titles that I have ordered that have really taken off. I have also included the number of circulations and the date it was added to the collection to give you an idea.

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, update, &Show Your Home Some Love by Sherry and John Petersik  - 9 checkouts since 1/28/13

Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies by Ashley English – 14 checkouts since 12/11/12

Windows 8: Out of the Box by Mike Halsey – 9 checkouts since 2/28/13

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl – 7 checkouts since 3/21/13

Taste of Home: Simple and Delicious Cookbook by Taste of Home (really anything by Taste of Home will circulate. I told you…color pictures on every page work!) – 14 checkouts since 2/5/13

Star Wars : year by year : avisual chronicle (anything Star Wars or Lego related is gold, because we have a lot of kids who are fanatics.) – 3 checkouts since 7/1/13

The Speedy Vegetable Garden by Mark Diacono – 11 checkouts since 2/28/13

Servants’ Hall: A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance by Margaret Powell (I attribute this completely to Downton Abbey) – 8 checkouts since 4/8/13

Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk by Lara Ferroni 14 checkouts since 2/28/13

Rachel’s Irish Family Food by Rachel Allen – 11 checkouts since 4/2/13

Proof of heaven : a Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander – 7 checkouts since 2/14/13 (item was lost for about a month)

The Paleo slow cooker :healthy, gluten-free meals the easy way by Arsy Vartanian (My patrons are all up on this Paleo Diet fad. Anything paleo goes out fast and has a decent hold list) – 7 checkouts since 3/28/13

Omni Diet by Tana Amen – 5 checkouts since 5/1/13

Meals in a Jar by Julie Languille – 13 checkouts since 4/16/13

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch – 12 checkouts since 1/28/13

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess – 8 checkouts since 3/12/13

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis – 9 checkouts since 2/14/13

Is This Thing On?: A Computer Handbook for Late Bloomers, Technophobes, and the Kicking and Screaming by Abby Stokes (Insanely popular at my computer classes!) – 8 checkouts since 1/28/13

How To Retire The Cheapskate Way by Jeff Yeager – 13 checkouts since 1/28/13



Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides by Fred Thompson – 14 checkouts since 1/3/13

Food and Feasts of Jesus by Douglas E. Neel – 11 checkouts since 12/11/13

F for Effort! More of the Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers by Richard Benson – 12 checkouts since 2/28/13

Bless Your Heart: Saving the World One Covered Dish at a Time by Patsy Caldwell – 11 checkouts since 4/2/13

     I didn’t include many bestsellers on this list because for the most part they go out. I am always fascinated by the amount of circulations an item has.Here are a couple of titles that I thought would do really well and didn’t. Just goes to show that sometimes you get it wrong.

Astor Orphan: A Memoir by Alexandra Aldrich

Cooking With Flowers by Miche Bacher

Desktop Digest of Despots and Dictators by Gilbert Alter-Gilbert



Flower Recipe Book by Alethea Harampolis

The Futureby Al Gore



In the Kingdom of theSick by Laurie Edwards




Pigeon in a Crosswalk by Jack Gray



T-Rex Trying by Hugh Murphy

The Truth about Style by Stacy London


On some of these I thought they would just fly off the shelves (Cooking with Flowers and Simon’s Cat), but obviously my patrons did not think so. Some of these books will check out over time (Medusa’s Gaze will go out whenever there is a project on urban myths), but I had hoped for better results.

    Based on the first couple of orders I placed and the orders I place now, there is a definite shift from more academic titles to general nonfiction. Yes, a collection needs to have both academic titles and general nonfiction, but when you compare a weighted historical analysis that might check out say 2 or 3 times in 5 years vs. a craft book that will garner about 15 circs a year it is hard to remember that you need a well rounded collection.

Sidenote:  I wish I worked in cataloging. I would get to see all the books before anyone else and no dealing with patrons. Catalogers are so lucky!


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