Friday, January 21, 2011

The Library Corner

The Library Corner is a new feature that April and I talked about starting to share different favorite books, aspects of my school library and really anything library and/or book related that we decide.

Today I will talk about one of my favorite aspects of my job - ordering books! I have a pretty nice budget at my school - we have over 800 students that I have to buy materials for, so sometimes it's a tough decision. I have low readers and high readers, 1st through 5th grade that check out library materials.

So, I have to be smart and to be smart - I use the wonderful beautiful company called Follett first and foremost. They have this beautiful thing called Titlewave, where I can upload my records, see where I'm lacking based on what research says a school library should have in each dewey number, fiction section etc.

Not to mention, they carry a ton of stuff. So I can order without having to go through a bazillion companies to get the series my students love.

Although, that being said, I found that sometimes buying from the publisher can really pay you back. Literally. Early this year, when I saw an ad from Capstone, saying they'd give me 30% back in free books.. well I couldn't resist. After all, a lot of the graphic novels and hi-low nonfiction series I buy are Capstone books.

Not only are they awesome because I'm actually getting FREE books... but they make it so easy to buy with their scan and buy catalog. You can just scan away from their catalog to their online catalog with your handy book scanner. I ended up spending way too much this way btw. :)

Also, they are trying out a "green" program, which is awesome so far. I scan all the books I'm discarding but still in good condition and they will give me rewards points for sending them off to Better World Books for free. I get rid of old musty books and get points for new books.

I love Capstone's line of books - they have some of the best graphic novels for elementary students, nonfiction books that are interesting but still at low reading levels for my struggling readers.

Last, but definitely not least, I order from Junior Library Guild.

They really select the greatest books. I only get their graphic novels right now, but after seeing how many of their picks won ALA awards.. I'm considering upping what I get from them. They send you one book a month in the categories you choose and that way you are getting new and fantastic books every month for the full school year. I love their latest graphic novel selection - Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch.

Here's the description from Goodreads:

Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons!

Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find—and outwit—the giant troll who’s got it!

I have a lot of fun compiling my lists and use magazines like School Library Journal and Booklist to help guide me along the way. It's hard because I am a slave to Accelerated Reader, meaning I often have to weigh buying a book that doesn't have a test yet because it probably won't get checked out as much as one that does. A sad fact of life, but definitely one that defines some of my choices in book selection.

So, hopefully this was interesting to some of you and I didn't make any of you snooze away. Next time, I'll highlight more books. :)

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  1. No, that was very interesting! Of course, I'm a 1st year elementary librarian so I'm just figuring all of this stuff out. So far I've stuck with Follett but am intrigued w/Bound to Stay Bound and Jr. Library Guild (who have really been trying to get me to buy from them lately). I'm lucky in that we don't (yet) have AR (and I'm doing everything I can to keep it at bay).


  2. This is my 2nd year as a librarian and this post was great! I use Follett but that's about it. I need to get a subscription to School Library Journal. I bet that would be very helpful. :)

  3. I LOVE this. I am such a library nerd. I love this idea for a feature. It's fantastic.

  4. The Capstone program sounds wonderful! Esp that they take older books back. When I was in the public library and we'd have to weed books that were still in good shape, I always felt awful. We found "homes" for some, but a program like that is really great.

  5. I don't think I knew you were a librarian - how awesome! :) How did I not know that? And how have I not had you come interview/guest post on my blog? ;)

  6. Having just graduated from Library School I haven't found a Librarian Job yet but I have worked with quite a few and I always hear about what companies they order from. I would be terrified to have the responsibility of ordering books... what if the students don't like them? I would also be hard to keep my bias out of the way, but I know with experience that will change.

  7. Sounds like you have the best job EVER! Well, I would probably prefer to do it for a High School, but still, amazing! And it was interesting to hear a little about it and some of the cool programs :)

  8. Great post :) I actually worked for Follett for 10 years - pretty good company.

    Love that you get to buy books for kids! How awesome is that!

  9. It's kind of cool to hear about the behind the scenes stuff that happens at the library. Thanks for sharing.


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