My number one goal for 2016 is to increase our circulation. It seems that in libraryland that circulation of print books at most libraries has been trending slightly down. Now, on the flip side, circulation of ebooks and other electronice materials skyrocket as we devote more funding to them. (If you are really curious, check out this annual report from the Public Library Association to get into the nitty-gritty numbers of library statistics.)
When it comes to children, though, ebooks will never take the place of physical books. Kids need the tactical experience of holding the books in their hands, the page turns that add moments of suspense, and so on and so forth. This is why I am confident we can reverse our downward trend in the Children’s Room and bring circulation back up.
I am attacking this goal on four fronts: Weeding, Focused Selection, Displays and Booklists, and New Collections. In October we introduced our new collection: the Character Shelf.
There is nothing new about putting all the media-tie-in books together. Tons of libraries do this. But it was nothing short of revolutionary for our patrons and our staff. Previously, a good amount of staff time was taken up by searching for ‘Barbie books’ or ‘Thomas books.’ They were cataloged by author, they all have different authors, and were not even in the same collection (some are Easy Books, Easy Readers). Plus most are very thin paperbacks making them even trickier to find. It was really time consuming for staff and frustrating for kids because they couldn’t find books about their favorite characters on their own.
Now, voila! We have one place to go where all the Disney Princess books are next to each other, all the Superhero books are in one place and easy to find, etc. Needless to say this has been great for our circulation. These books are flying off the shelves. All it took were some stickers and a new shelf location in the OPAC. This is only one part of our “giving the patrons what they want” strategy and already we are seeing great results. It gives me a huge burst of pleasure every time a child comes in and says, “Where are the Dora books?” and I can walk them over to one shelf and say, “They are all right here!”