Branch Out

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703-324-3100 TTY 711
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Fairfax, VA 22035
Ashley Atkinson
Editor, Branch Out

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Managing a Collection

managing a collection

Acquisition is only the beginning; ongoing assessment is the rest of the story.

By Dustin Booher, FCPL Collection Services Coordinator

Constantly Monitoring Demand

FCPL’s Collection Services department builds and manages a collection of more than 2 million items across 23 physical locations and online. Selecting and ordering new books, audiobooks and eBooks is only the beginning of the process.

For the lifespan of a title, we keep a watchful eye on cardholder demand and circulating quantities to determine if or when we need to acquire additional copies or replacements — as is common for popular, recent bestsellers. Refreshing older titles with lasting appeal and maintaining depth of coverage on important topics also plays an important role. For recent books, we can lease additional physical copies at a lower price, allowing us to meet the initial surge in demand for new releases. As interest fades and holds have been filled, these copies are returned to the vendor.

Digital Is Different

A digital collection poses some significant other challenges. The cost of individual licenses for eBooks, which are often three to five times the price of a physical book, make it impossible to match the breadth of the physical collection. As more and more cardholders read or listen through OverDrive or its Libby app, it is tricky to maintain balance between presenting a strong, varied selection of content and keeping wait times reasonable. We continue to work with publishers and vendors to try and find new ways to make more content available without diverting funds from other areas of need.

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