Teen Non-Fiction Collection Update!

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about starting to rebuild and revamp a teen non-fiction collection. (You can find it here!) Since I wrote that first post, almost all of the materials I had ordered had arrived! My teens are already making use of the collection, but I can’t wait until school starts and there are more opportunities to use the new academic books that were purchased.

Besides all the new books, the other great part about this post is that I still have money left to spend! (You can picture me dancing right here. Because I am dancing in my chair, and have been pretty much dancing all week.)

Anyway, now that the collection is mildly in shape and I still have money to spend, this past week I got to go through it AGAIN to check for outdated materials to replace. These are books that definitely had incorrect materials and I have been just ITCHING to get them off our bookshelves…but I couldn’t if I didn’t have the funds to replace them.

Coming up this week, and probably both of my posts next week, I will be showing you some pictures and talking about just how I went/am going about updating these materials.

Check back on Tuesday where I believe I will be talking about updating the “Coping With” series published in the early to mid 90s.

Ordering Books

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 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.


On Building a Teen Non-Fiction Collection

One of my goals this year at my job is to completely re-vamp our teen non-fiction collection. Our collection is fairly large already — bigger than a lot of the other libraries in the area, and especially large given that our population is only at 23,000 — but unfortunately it really hasn’t been updated since before I took this position.

My non-fiction section shortly after accepting my job.

My first task was to weed the outdated materials, or just plain wrong materials out of the section. This process took place over several years.

While I was in the process of this, I also had to evaluate why all of the materials were placed in the YA section. A LOT of the materials were not written at a teen level, and just dealt with topics that I’m sure people wanted to “protect” younger eyes from. (For whatever reason, a lot of stuff about WWII wound up over there. And a lot about Greek/Rome history…and anything specific about battles in wars.) I wound up moving about an eighth of the section back into the J non-fic area.

The non-fic section last fall, with its newly weeded shelves, where I also carved out enough space for some eye-level displays. Also, note the large graphic novel section at the end of the aisle. Yep, that was not there before!

And of course, while I was evaluating the collection I was also purchasing new materials. And working on trying to get some funding to further develop this collection. This year, I am lucky enough to have a sizable amount of the Youth Services budget to put towards the YA non-fic area. (About 13% of the total amount.)

So, where did I begin?

I made sure to get the backlists of the Excellence in Non-Fiction Award, and any Printz books that I was missing.

And then I literally went through our whole system’s records and made a giant YA non-fic database of what I wanted to buy for our collection. These titles have just started rolling in.

New books, waiting to be processed! (These came from the cart labeled “Popular Materials” and have some AWESOME books.)

This is just my starting point, and I hope to get this collection in tip-top shape. Once all my new materials come in, I plan to go through with another weed of the collection for good measure.

So, do you have any favorite sources to find teen non-fiction books? Let me know in the comments.

I’ll be back on Sunday with a review of one of this year’s Printz Honor Books.