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Collection Development 101: A Year Later

About a year ago, I wrote a series of posts called Collection Development 101. The first one was about selection (complete with what is probably a record number of spreadsheet screen gabs for a storytime blog) and the other on weeding. I wrote a little about how I had decided to try and proportion my youth collection budget on the basis of circulation for each division. Then I divided my annual budget into monthly amounts for book orders. Now we've got just about one month left in our fiscal year (ours ends November 30th) and I'm back with an update post!

I suppose I should point out that this was an unusual year in that I took a 3-month leave in the middle of it, so the organized system of monthly orders fell apart when I came back to 4 months' worth of review journals to go through. So I blame any discrepancies on that. It's convenient I think. Please note that I dropped tracking the graphic novels category midway through the year and decided just to include them in the YA or J Fiction categories as appropriate.

Actual Numbers Ahead!

Here's what the number break down looked like last year:

Here's what I wound up purchasing in our 2011-2012 fiscal year:

I was incredibly close to what was budgeted in nonfiction as far as number of titles purchased (I predicted 135 and purchased 134). YA was fairly close as well; I purchased 38 more titles than anticipated. Fiction and Easies were off by about 100 titles each. 

A few thoughts
I keep buying fewer picture books than I can justify based off circ stats (remember picture books account for more then 40% of the circulation here!). It is really the only section where I have a huge space problem. We have over 5,000 picture books and that appears to be what we have room for. I'll be working on weeding them more aggressively next year. 

I also wonder if I should adjust the average book prices down. I've been basing them off retail price but not accounting for the fact that we don't pay retail, and are somewhere between wholesale and retail prices. My only concern with dropping each book cost a few dollars is that I don't want to overspend. So this is where I ask my audience: How do you account for discount prices when budgeting? Or when putting in your monthly order? Our vendor doesn't tell us how big the discount is on a certain book until we've received it and are billed, but I know other vendors disclose upfront. 

And SURPRISE! Here's what I had left in my budget as of 10/25/12: 
My budget was $16,000 for this fiscal year. Items received by 10/25 totaled $14,367.91. Items ordered but not received totaled $297.13, and the remainder was $1,335.96! I came in well under budget and get to go on the end of the fiscal year book binge at our local warehouse store! YES! 


  1. This is super helpful stuff. I started at a large library where we had a line-item for every collection (like easy readers, j graphic, easies, j fiction, j series... all separate lines) so the amounts were all divided out by the dept. head. Now that I am my own dept. head, I get a lump sum for all J and YA books, and one for J and YA media. To accommodate for shipping charges, discounts, etc, I skim 10% off the top and just "forget" about it until December (we fiscal the same as the calendar), when theoretically, I get to go hog wild. The part where I am stuck is how to divide the lump sum. We have to get our stats from the county, and we typically only get collection level stats for circ at the year end. So I can't use your method with my own data, but I might play around with your breakdown and see what that would work out number wise for me. I keep telling myself one day I'll get it right!

  2. I started at a big system too. It's a great place to get your feet wet as far as storytime and programming, but I love working in a smaller library because I'm really a generalist at heart. I like getting to do all parts of librarianship!

  3. Sometime when you are bored and want to take it to the next step, check out Relative Use in terms to collection development. There was a big presentation a couple of years ago at PLA. Anyways, it is great for breaking down your nonfic dept and seeing where you need to add or weed. :)


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