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Teen Blog

Behind the Scenes: How Do Books Get Selected for Purchase?

Posted on 11/19/2021 by Carla Heideman

Have you ever wondered how books get selected for purchase at a library?

At Wichita Public Library, books are purchased by the selectors. WPL has an Adult Fiction Selector, Adult Nonfiction Selector, and a Youth Materials Selector. It's important to know that libraries have to pay for the books they purchase for their customers to borrow. (Wouldn't it be nice if libraries got all books for FREE?)

New books waiting to be cataloged

Do selectors just purchase whatever they want? Of course not!

Here are three things selectors look at when purchasing books for library collections:

  1. Professional reviews. Professional review journals are an essential part of a selector's job. Journals such as Library Journal, School Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publisher's Weekly publish non-biased reviews of new titles coming out. Selectors look for books with good reviews when deciding what to purchase.

    Selectors may also purchase books that go viral or are popular on #BookTok.

    What books have you seen on #BookTok lately? Let us know if the Library needs to purchase it!
  2. Do other libraries own the title? If selectors are on the fence about a purchase, they will look at other libraries in the region to see if they have the title. If quite a few other libraries have purchased the book, selectors may purchase it as well. However, if only a few libraries own the title, selectors may not purchase it.
    Did you know 1600+ libraries own They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera?
  3. Community needs. Will the title do well in the Wichita community? Selectors are skilled at following local trends. They want to purchase books the community needs and will want to read. For example, the Youth Materials Selector will always purchase the William Allen White books local schools are reading. The Adult Selectors make sure the library has enough copies of the Big Read Wichita book. Selectors WANT the community to read!

Keep calm and buy my book

Looking for something new to read? Check out our latest selections!

categories: Collections
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