This is a frequently asked question at our library and the answer to this is almost as diverse as our library users. We try to maintain a well balanced collection of fiction and nonfiction for all ages. This includes special formats for special readers such as large print and audio books for the visually impaired, board books for our youngest readers who literally enjoy chewing over a good book and graphic novels for young adult readers.
Major influences on our book selection include;
*Reader’s Requests: We always consider requests from our readers to add an item to our book collection. Generally we will add the item it we think it will also appeal to other library users. If we feel that a book is too specialized or esoteric to appeal to a general readership, we will generally try to borrow that title from another library to fill our reader’s request.
*Author’s Reputation: We automatically order titles, often multiples, for favorite authors. We don’t think twice about ordering the latest John Grisham, it’s just a matter of deciding how many copies we’ll need. We often order nonfiction from authors who are experts in their field and have the ability to translating their knowledge into prose that the lay person can understand.
*Hot Topics: Book publishers anticipate trends in reader demand. The recent election season is a prime example. The library couldn’t possibly afford to purchase every political title published in 2012. Our challenge was to have a representative sampling of books in our collection balancing opinions from left, right and center.
*Media: Bestseller lists always contain titles whose authors are currently receiving a lot of exposure on television & radio, in the print media and prominent social networking sites. If a book is recommended by Oprah or reviewed in People Magazine the author can expect some hefty checks from the publisher. It certainly helps your sales if you are a celebrity. Sadly, not all titles live up to their hype.
Standard Review Sources: The general public isn’t familiar with such titles as Library Journal, Booklist, or Kirkus Reviews but librarians rely on their opinions on upcoming books when making purchasing decisions
Personal Choices: Sometimes I buy a book for the library because I want to read it and share it with other library users.