Buying books for the LFLs

Hi everyone! Loranne here, and I’m about to wrap up my work with the Little Free Libraries. One of the last phases of my internship was to test and put into action the Collection Development Policy I wrote for the project.

I tried my hardest to pretend I was encountering the Collection Devleopment Policy for the first time, to imagine what it would be like for someone who had not spent hours sifting through donated materials to try to decide what to buy.

It should be noted that, unfortunately, we will not be purchasing these titles. At the time I wrote this plan, we had already used all donated funds. So, I set myself an imaginary budget of $500, and got to work. I consulted the resources listed in my policy (best seller lists and book review sites, as well as a few publishing companies), in order to best determine what I should buy.

Here, you can see a list of the books I determine we should purchase, as well as the author, year of publication, format, category, and price (both the original list price and current price on Amazon.com).

Popular Reading titles (into which the Box Office category falls) are exactly that—very popular! They tend to fly of LFL shelves. And so do children’s books, which is why I devoted about 30% of my total budget to those categories.

Because books for adult learners are hard to come by in donations, in addition to being in demand, I also set aside 25% of my budget for those titles.

Future buyers for the LFLs might want to consider making a list like my table above, and shopping around a bit, before going straight to Amazon. Area used bookstores are likely to have a copy or two of current, popular titles, and will allow you to save money!

Aside from this document, there are a couple of drafts that you won’t get to see here, but I’ll tell you a few very important things I learned from writing them

  • Plan ahead. I’m really glad I divided up my budget according to category. That made it easier for me to not focus solely on one or two.
  • Consider whether the price is worth it. I could have gotten one big The Walking Dead compendium for the same price as the three listed here, but by splitting them up, I ensured that more people would benefit from the money spent, because three people could enjoy them at once, rather than one.
  • Mix it up. Particularly in the more popular categories (Popular Reading and Children’s), don’t just get everything from the very top of the best seller list—classics that are always popular (like The Giving Tree or The Hobbit) have their place, too.
  • Don’t spend lots of money on computer instructional books. My first draft included a Microsoft Office introductory book, which cost over $100. But MS Office 2010 isn’t going to be around forever—technology changes quickly. By instead selecting a more basic MS Word and MS Excel book, I’ve saved money for other books, while still getting the utility out of these instructional books.

 

 

 

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