Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Item Record for Eudora Welty by Suzanne Marrs

Welty circ record
Originally uploaded by ricklibrarian.
Eudora Welty by Suzanne Marrs was published last August and our library added it right away. I saw the title in the Janary 1, 2006 issue of Booklist in "2005 Editor's Choice" and wondered whether it had attracted our readers. I see Thomas Ford has circulated the book seven times in six months, which is not bad, considering the low counts I have seen on some other acclaimed books.

I looked through the SWAN records and found that in this probably isolated case (maybe not) our medium small library has topped the bigger libraries in loaning a title. No other library has lent this book more than five times. Here's what I make of this.

1. Small libraries can do big things. Maybe not as many big things as big libraries, but we matter. Every day we can do something just as well.

2. Small libraries especially need to be friendly. We may be harder to notice, so we have to work a little harder and never turn anyone off with restrictive policies. Being friendly with other libraries counts, too. We will often loan new items to other libraries fairly soon, which may be included in our count in this case.

3. Publishers need not worry that they are losing sales to free reading at libraries. We are not moving books like music downloads on the Internet.

4. I would like to see these books moving more at all the libraries. I had assumed books were moving faster at the big libraries, but it is not so. We all need to do more to market the books we buy. We can not rest on the assumption that our books will sell themselves.

5. We win more support every time we find a book for one of our readers. We are our own best marketing tool. Maybe we should carry books wherever we go and never be seen without one.

All this from one little circ stat? What do you think?


Laura said...

I think one problem is that librarians have so much more access to book reviews than regular folk do. Not many outside the library (and bookstore and publishing) world read Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, etc. on a regular basis, I would guess, and other sources offer fewer and fewer book reviews, especially of fiction.

ricklibrarian said...


I agree. We use these tools to try to buy the best books that we can, but our readers often have no knowledge of these books unless we tell them we have them. That's a big job when we get thousands of books a year. We are still looking for ways to promote the books. I am beginning to feel the problem is getting bigger. We need some new ideas.