Tuesday, May 6, 2014

5 Steps to Starting a New Library Collection

I've recently started a  new collection at my library: Graphic Novels. I've wanted to do this for a while, but haven't had the shelf space available. We recently got a new Information Desk and Tech Center with additional shelving, so I finally had the chance. Based on my experience here are the steps to take in starting a new collection.

Step 1: Gather existing items that would fit the collection: It is always better to start with what you already have. In this instance I gathered the few graphic novels we have had spread throughout our Juvenile Fiction collection.We didn't have many, but it was definitely a start.

Part of our existing collection of graphic novels.

Step 2: Get suggestions for new items to add: This is where Twitter comes in handy. I reached out to my Twitter friends and got some great suggestions from Lisa Mulvenna about what graphic novels are "must haves". There are also many booklists online that can come in handy. For graphic novels ideas I turned to the 2013 ALSC Graphic Novel Reading Lists.

Step 3: Make your new collection identifiable and searchable: Our existing graphic novels had a "graphic novel" sticker on the spine but were all labeled as JFIC. To make searching easier I changed their call numbers to JGN.

Our new spine labels and stickers.

Step 4: Bring attention to the new collection: A new collection is useless if nobody knows about it. I put our graphic novels with our new books for about 2 weeks in order to call attention to them. I think this worked pretty well. Many got checked out and I noticed many people browsing through them during that time period.

Step 5: Evaluate the collection's success:  Look at circulation statistics to make sure your new collection is getting checked out. Anecdotal evidence such browsing and in house use can also be good indicators of how your new collection is doing. I will definitely be looking to see how the graphic novels do at my library.

A portion of our new and improved graphic novel collection.

If you've added a new collection at your library how did you go about it? Any other advice you can give?

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