By Becky Walton, MLIS, Collection Development Librarian
Maybe you’ve used some of the lists we’ve placed on ipage® or ordered from a selection list that one of us created just for your library. But what else goes on behind the scenes in Ingram’s youth collection development department? Here’s the inside scoop.
Our youth librarians are very hands-on when it comes to evaluating books, audio, and video for their importance to libraries—every publisher we meet with sends us samples of their list so that we can determine age appropriateness, special collections eligibility, and quality of content/packaging. We keep all of these professional opinions/determinations in an internal database, and we have a wealth of cumulative knowledge about youth materials spanning decades and benefiting from the experience of many librarians and teachers. It really is an invaluable legacy that allows us to curate the highest quality collection development lists for our public library and K12 customers.
Other ways that we stay informed about the materials we recommend is by reading the review journals, monitoring blogs such as 7 Impossible Things before Breakfast, Fuse #8, and attending author events and conferences such as Comic-Con. As soon as we get to work each morning, one of the first resources we open is ipage and the second is Edelweiss, so that we can see interior spreads and get additional bibliographic information. Once a year, no matter how early, we pile into our conference room with coffee and treats, and watch the ALA Youth Media Awards cheering for the winners we predicted!
We also love to promote forthcoming titles that we’re jazzed about by tweeting during EarlyWord’s Middle Grade and Young Adult Galley Chat (#ewgcya), writing book reviews, and interviewing authors for our monthly e-newsletter, News & Reviews for the Youth Librarian, and creating some of the Ingram Wires.
A major part of what we do is for you: both custom and complimentary curation. Our custom curation is typically ongoing, regular (usually monthly) lists built according to your specifications.
There are many ways you can enjoy our complimentary curation:
- Lists on ipage: from the Browse menu, select High Interest Categories.
- Lists built and emailed to you when you have a specific need. Maybe you received a grant and need help picking subject- and age-specific titles or you would like some title recommendations for your summer reading program.
- Programs: We manage some of the standing order programs that hopefully you’re taking advantage of! Author/Illustrator (Children's), Author (Teen), and Graphic Novel (Adult & Youth) are just a few.
- Opening day collections: If you’re opening a new branch or expanding a current one, we’re here to build lists according to your parameters. We’ll ask for some information from you such as budget, community demographics, collection scope, binding preferences, and publication date ranges. Then we’ll build title lists with your patrons in mind.
For more information about any of these types of lists, your sales rep is happy to answer your questions or put you in touch with us.
We have even been known to write, perform, and record a puppet show when we were called on to explain to other Ingram business units exactly what collection development is.
Although we are no longer at a physical library, we do many of the same things as you (well, okay, we don’t clear paper jams for customers, but we cause many ourselves!), most notably: we still have that excitement and rush when we learn about a title that we just know the rest of the world will adore as much as we do. We want to get those great books into your young readers’ hands, and we’re proud that we get to do so every day!