Ordering New Library Materials Takes A Village

By Brandt Ensor, Assistant Executive Director, Adams County Library System

In our budget year 2022, the Adams County Library System is scheduled to spend $165,711 on new materials of all types for the six branches of the Adams County Library System. This number also includes e-books and e-audiobooks for our Cloud Library electronic platform. I should note that this number does not include the additional funds we spend on electronic databases, electronic magazines, or the supplies and software needed to make them available to the public for circulation.

adams county library

The amount of $165,711 sounds like a lot of money, and it is healthy materials budget for our sized county. The Adams County Library System prides itself in being a “Most Popular” and “Browsable” library, rather than what some call a research library. Sure, we have plenty of materials that can be used for research and scholarly work, but the non-fiction we do tend to circulate for those purposes also could be considered “Most Popular” non-fiction that anyone browsing the shelves looking for a new book to read might be interested in.

Why isn’t the Adams County Library System a research library? Well that is a good question and one that does get asked from time to time. We are very lucky in Adams County to be surrounded by great research libraries including Musselman Library at Gettysburg College, the Wentz Memorial Library at the Gettysburg Campus of United Lutheran Seminary, the HACC library right outside of Gettysburg, and soon, the brand-new Gettysburg Beyond the Battle Museum and Archives which will open in April 2023 by the Adams County Historical Society. These facilities are much more equipped with extensive collections for scholarly researching needs, and we also refer our users to one of these tremendous resources often as their research may dictate. They have the experience, collection, and knowledge to help those doing extensive research on those reference questions that are more of a historical or local nature.

While the missions of those organizations speak for themselves, the mission of the Adams County Library System is to open gateways for exploration so our county library system can connect people to opportunities that enrich their lives. As I mentioned previously, the Adams County Library System focuses our collection purchasing on the most popular and requested titles that are published in fiction, non-fiction, young adult, and children’s materials. We unfortunately don’t have the budget to order everything we even want to order, so how do we go about spending our money fairly, evenly, and ensure we get a well-balanced collection… well the truth is… it takes a village.          

To start, we take this big job and split it up between our professional librarians and other managers who each get a section each year to provide comprehensive ordering for the entire library system. For me, this year I have Ebooks, so every Friday I am the person who puts in the weekly order and sends it through to appear on CloudLibrary. Every 3 years or so, we switch ordering responsibilities to ensure our collection gets a different set of eyes ordering for it regularly. This allows us to ensure all bases are covered and all views are represented in our ordering. 

In Addition to systemwide ordering responsibilities, each branch of the library receives a dollar amount to spend on new children’s books and series. This allows our branch managers to get more ordering experience, while also knowing what the individuals in their communities would really like in their children’s departments.

No matter if staff is ordering for the system or for their individual branches, the new books come through Gettysburg to be processed by our fabulous technical services team. They are cataloged, barcoded, covered and sent out to be enjoyed by the masses.   Most of our collections are ordered monthly for items coming out in the future so patrons can place items on hold before they are even released. This also helps us determine how many copies of a particular bestseller to order if the holds list gets long.

So it really does take a village to order new materials for the Adams County Library System. If one person tried to do the job, it would be way to much! We always take suggestions for library materials we don’t own. You can fill out the purchase request form on our website, www.adamslibrary.org under the “Services” tab.  Happy November!

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