How items are added to the Dick Smith Library Collection
Part 1 - Acquisitions - Selecting Items
Books get selected for the library in a number of different ways. The library has an approval plan set up with one of our main vendors, Blackwell. Based on a carefully developed (and often tweaked) “profile” of the library’s needs, Blackwell sends us a number of books each week in a variety of disciplines. The librarians review the books for the departments for which they are liaisons, and sometimes faculty members from those departments review the books as well. Books that are rejected get sent back to Blackwell, those that are to be added move to the next step (next week!). In general, with a well-developed profile, the library will keep about 95% of the books sent through the approval plan and only reject about 5%.
Each department in the university also has a budget to purchase books (or other materials – Fine Arts purchases a lot of music CDs, for example). The budget is based on enrollment in its courses as well as a number of other factors. Acquisitions Librarian Jodee Tennyson sorts through a bundle of “CHOICE cards” sent to her each month. These cards include bibliographic information as well as a review of the book from CHOICE, a publication of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association. Jodee sends the cards to the faculty representative to the University’s Library Committee for the applicable departments, so they are aware of newly published materials in their fields. Departments are also able to order other materials, which Jodee will search for with Blackwell or our other main vendor, Baker and Taylor (B&T), as well as Amazon or specialty vendors if needed.
The library also has budgets for some specialty materials, like children’s literature for the curriculum collection, audiovisual (AV) materials (particularly audiobooks), and state-adopted textbooks for use in public schools for prekindergarten though 12th grade. Amanda Pape, Special Services Librarian, gets to select these items! In the case of the state-adopted textbooks, she works off the Instructional Materials Bulletin, a list of state-approved textbooks provided by the Texas Education Agency. She has to contact the textbook publishers or their depositories in Texas and obtain prices (since we pay for one student edition and one teacher edition of most titles adopted in the state) Once she gets pricing, Jodee and Acquisitions Assistant Kay Wiley actually place the orders (step 2 – next week!).
The children’s literature and AV are more fun. Amanda selects a lot of award-winning children’s books as well as audiobooks for all ages. She searches for the items on , which requires a login to create a “cart.” The main limits are that the item be currently in stock, and preferably available in a hardbound edition (for books, since children’s paperback books don’t last long) or unabridged CDs (for audiobooks). She adds the items she wants to order to her cart, with tags in the notes field to remind her why she ordered them (the children’s literature class needs a lot of picture books in different genres, for example).
Once she has completed a cart, Amanda e-mails it to Jodee, who adds the required information to actually place the order. Ordering books will be discussed next week!
[This is the first of a five-part series on how items are added to the Dick Smith Library collection. Check back next Wednesday for Part 2 - Ordering.]