July 29, 2010

Library Day in the Life: Round 5, Day 4 (Thursday)

Working a later shift again, but this time at our satellite campus. This location opened only about a year ago, so it's pretty quiet here (especially opposed to downtown). Typically, when I'm out here, because it's so quiet, I will catch up on things like collection development, pathfinders (finished for now!), work on lesson plans, and get caught up on professional development reading. The librarian at this campus is on the desk all day and is the only reference librarian here; the only other person (working) in the library is in circulation, so it's just two of us.

So far, I have looked at Brandon Hill Updates (via Baker & Taylor, a company many libraries order most or all of their books from) and Rittenhouse for new updates to standard texts in health occupations. Since I am responsible for general health occupations, sonography, radiology, respiratory therapy, and surgical technology, I needed to make sure we have the most up-to-date versions of major books in our collection since medicine/science fields need current materials. The pattern seems to be new editions are published every 3-5 years, so what I'm doing is looking at our OPAC, and if the most recent version we have is 2007 and earlier, I am trying to order the new copy (if there is one). If we have a book published in 2008 and after, I am not going to order since the cycle will refresh itself soon.

All the collection development librarians at my library look at Choice and Library Journal (and sometimes Booklist, though that is more suited for public libraries) to find new books to order. We need to justify why we are choosing something, so having a credible review source to cite in our brief note (for putting it in an ordering cart) is almost always mandatory. That way, if someone challenges a book, asking why we ordered it, we can point to the credible review source. Looking at subject-specific magazines and journals is also helpful (like Artforum for art, The Chronicle for education, and so forth). You can also search for topics in Baker & Taylor, and then click a tab for reviews (often from some of those noted sources), so there is that option as well. Personally, I do like finding interesting items from alternative sources; although we cannot order from them or list an obscure blog as the review source, I'll then search for the item in B&T, and then find a review from a standard.

Something to keep in mind when collecting for a community college is reading level. We look for general audience and undergraduate-level items almost exclusively. B&T will often tell you the level when you search, but when they don't, it's something that should be discerned before ordering because we have a lot of students with lower skill sets (at our location) based on where we are and the school districts feeding in (Dallas Independent School District has a fair share of problems). But also obviously, we do not have graduate students here, as we are tech program and transfer-student focused.

The rest of the day will probably consist of catching up on reading some library blogs (I have been looking at libraries using QR codes lately and hope we can do that at our library; even though we have many disadvantaged students, there are still a lot who have nicer, camera phones this would work well for -- nicer phones than I have!). I also try to keep Meebo chat open while here for virtual reference, and although questions tend to be few and far between, it's nice to have it be an option.

Tomorrow is Friday!