One of my responsibilities as the Teen Librarian is to order all the books for the Teen section. This is one of my favorite things to do, because I love books and reading about all the upcoming books and buying them is cathartic. But its also one of the most annoying parts of my job…
For one, if you spend too long reading book reviews and synopsis’s they all start to blur together in your mind until your brain hurts and you just can’t take it anymore. At this point I usually take a break and find something else to do for a while. Fortunately, while I am supposed to place an order every month, there isn’t a deadline I have to meet so I can take my time deciding which books are the best ones to buy.
As a book addict I would be happy to buy new books monthly or bi weekly, but I’m paying off student loans and I really can’t afford to do that. So sometimes buying books for the library allows me to live vicariously through the library. I have the power, I can buy all the books I want to read without spending any of my own money.
But therein lies the problem. When I’m ordering books for the library I’m not picking them for me I’m picking them for the community. The books I want to read may not be the books everyone else wants to read. Which means I sometimes have to pass on a book I would love to read so I can buy a book that I personally have no interest in but know would go out a lot.
And I only have so much money to spend every month. So even though there’s a lot of good books out there I have to try and figure out which ones will be the very best for us, which means that some books that look good to me and look like a good fit for the community get sidelined simply because I can’t afford them.
It’s not easy.
And then there’s the times when I’m excited about a new book, and I really want to read it, AND it looks like something that will be popular here in the library! That’s always a good day for me. But sometimes when those books come in I proudly display them on the shelf and they don’t go out. Or I read them and think “wow. This book is terrible. Who thought it was a good idea to buy this??”
That’s never a pleasant moment for me. And its hard because I want to learn from my mistake and not make it again. But that’s not possible. There’s only so much information I can get about a book before I buy it and sometimes that information is going to be misleading. It’s hit or miss, and I will never know which one until the book hits the shelves here at the library.
Of course, just because I don’t like the book doesn’t mean everyone else will hate it. It may be a very popular book here. And I may absolutely love a book and think that its very well written, but it won’t ever go out. That’s not really something I can predict.
I can look at what we already have, and see what goes out and what doesn’t and I can order according to that. Its the best way to do it, that I’ve found so far, but it’s not a fail proof tactic. The longer I order books for this library the better I’ll get. But the community is always changing and what books appeal to people is different depending on every person.