Collection Development Project Goes into Circulation THIS WEEK!

I’ve posted a couple times about a purchased books project I’ve been working on… Expanding the Lifespan of Paperbacks in the Jail Library & Sooo Much Urban Fiction — So Close To Being Added To The Jail Libraries!!!

This week is the week that 64 books will be put into circulation at the two county jail libraries. Books were split 30 % and 70 % which was a close resemblance to the number of patrons each library receives on average per week.

These books will have statistics collected on them to determine the lifespan and circulation periods of the books (there are no due dates, just a limit of books). But more importantly, patrons will have more books in circulation that are frequently requested – Urban Fiction!

Last month, in preparation for the books to go into circulation I presented to the volunteer librarians so we could:

  1. Get excited about Urban Fiction and the project in general
  2. Learn an introductory level about Manga
  3. Be familiar about the process how we might be able to track statistics on these special project books that would be as painless as possible to patrons and volunteer librarians

Below is a Power Point that guided us through the conversation. There is no citations for many of the information in the slides, but the Urban Fiction Resources tab holds most of the titles that I used.

Here are some pictures of from the presentation:

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What did other volunteer librarians think about the presentation and what came from our conversation?

When asked what volunteer librarians liked about Urban Fiction, they stated the following about the genre:

  • Urban Fiction gets people reading
  • Non-readers get interested in reading
  • Simple reading level with story line adults can relate to
  • Black characters and life
  • Patrons talk about books – recommend books to other readers & build community through books
  • Readers become writers
  • Urban Fiction is relatable

When asked what volunteer librarians liked about the project so far, they answered:

  • More Urban Fiction in the jail libraries
  • Statistics will be collected about circulation
  • Patron satisfaction
  • More reading

When asked what could be improved about the project, volunteer librarians expressed concerns about:

  • If patrons with requests for Urban Fiction will get their request filled first
  • If there should be a limit to Urban Fiction books checked out per patron
  • Anxiety about tallying the movement of these books (tracking the statistics) while completing other circulation tasks that need to be done
  • Requested list of books with notes for librarians has every book that has been purchased (ex: not just the 30% the one jail library has, but the full 100% for librarians’ reference)
  • Needing to be positive about collecting statistics with our patrons so they comply with returning their books and know that we are not trying to monitor their reading
  • How hectic will the first time at the library be, should the number of new books be limited per living quarter, the busier library must have three people working
  • After the first library week when the books with be distributed, there should be no circulation rules besides the rules that are already in place (primarily only having six books out at one time per patron)
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Sooo Much Urban Fiction — So Close To Being Added To The Jail Libraries!!!

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Months ago at a meeting of jail librarians, we began talking about the small number of urban fiction books in the jail libraries’ collections despite the very high number of requests from patrons asking for this genre.

From this meeting, a jail librarian asked the key members who oversaw the jail libraries for an in-house grant to purchase urban fiction despite the mission of the organization is to collect only donated books with the exception of dictionaries. And, we got permission to buy a considerable number of books. We were also asked to buy graphic novels; here we decided to buy only Manga (look for an other post as to why).

By consulting many books, blog posts, websites, and readers advisory brochures, I was able to come up with a collection development list for the jail librarians to approve. One of the most helpful sources were:

  1. Honig, Megan. Urban Grit: A Guide to Street Lit. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2011.
  2. Morris, Vanessa Irving. The Readers Advisory Guide to Street Literature. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012.
  3. Patron Input! I asked patrons at each library what titles they enjoy and would like to see at the library. One patron asked to go back to his cell to get a list he had already made for his own reference! He had a list in a small address book that was four pages long, in small print, and in alphabetical order. His list was so extensive that he let me borrow his notebook to copy the titles until the end of library hours and had our library assistant bring his notebook back to him. Asking this patron for input engaged the patron significantly to the project and he took more pride in the library, for he once checked-in on the project stating that he thought he had something to do with getting urban fiction into his library and he did. It is unfortunate that now that we are getting ready to have the books circulate, he has been sentenced and transferred out of jail and into a prison facility.

Now that we have some of our books we are labeling them with our sticker system  (you can see me starting to put some of the stickers on the books in the photo above). We do not separate Urban Fiction or  black authors from the libraries’ fiction sections like large book stores do, but we do add blue and white striped stickers in addition to stickers that display the genre (fiction, romance, etc) to distinguish black authors. This has been effective in helping patrons learn how to browse more effectively and search for items of their interest in their short time allowed in the library (usually 10 minutes or less) without having a library catalog.

After stickers are put on, we are attempting to expand the lifespan of our purchased books by wrapping the books in contact paper. See blog post Expanding Lifespan of Paperbacks in the Jail Library for more information and a tutorial video.

Once the purchased collection is prepped for the library, our plan to track the lifespan of the books will enter it’s final stages. Once those documents are complete I’ll share them with you all. Look for the catagory “Purchased Books Project 2012.”

Expanding Lifespan of Paperbacks in the Jail Library

Currently I’m working on a large project to improve our collections in our county jail libraries (I have soooo much Urban Fiction all over my living room) and I’ll post more about the project when were closer to implementing it.

Part of the project is to try to learn how to expand the lifespan of books in the library. Many school librarians have suggested that we use contact paper since we are only allowed to offer paperbacks.

Below is an awesome instructional video teaching how to place contact paper on paperbacks:

This technique has worked great so far. One thing that I found worked better was to fold and re-fold over a tiny part of a corner and rub it with your fingers in order to loosen the contact paper from the paper backing.

An unfortunate side of this is that our contact paper is easy to peel off. I could easily take a corner and peal it all the way across the cover. So, now we are looking at how we can place packing tape over the ends of the paper to seal the contact paper onto the inside cover or order the contact paper through Demco or Gaylord.