Ordering New Nonfiction

by Sara Edmiston

Any librarian will probably tell you that one of their favorite jobs is selecting new materials for the library.  One of my duties as the Public Services Director is to select and purchase nonfiction books in print for the library system.  There are thousands of books published every year, so how do we keep up with the variety of titles?  Luckily, there are a variety of resources available to aid in the endeavor.

adams county library

The main resource that I use when selecting nonfiction is professional book journals.  Sources like “Kirkus Reviews,” “Library Journal,” and “Booklist” are just a few of the monthly journals I review.  There are a variety of nonfiction book publishers, many of which publish in a niche market, who send their catalogs of upcoming titles to libraries to be reviewed.  

Our book jobber, Ingram, also has a list of High-Interest Titles that is updated monthly.  From this list, I am able to see upcoming titles, how many copies Ingram has on order from the publisher, summaries, reviews, etc.  Along with the High-Interest Titles list, Ingram also has Subject Area lists, which are very helpful when I’m looking for a title in a specific area.

Selection also involves keeping up with trending topics and buzzworthy titles.  What titles are being discussed on the morning news?  In podcasts?  On BookTok?  It’s a lot to keep up with, so suggestions from the staff and requests for purchase are always taken into consideration.  Celebrity Memoirs seem to be hot this year.  So far, we’ve seen memoirs published by Elliot Page, Pam Anderson, and Prince Harry.  In the next few months, we’ll see memoirs by Barbara Streisand, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Leslie Jones, Melissa Etheridge, and Patrick Stewart.

With nonfiction titles, however, it’s not just the new titles that I’m looking at.  There are certain sections of the nonfiction collection that need to be maintained.  Sections such as medical, travel, and test prep need to be updated on a regular basis in order to ensure that we have an up-to-date and balanced collection. We are also continuously adding new titles to our law and finance collections.  One project that I’ve been working on this year is updating the travel section, so if you’re planning on taking a trip in the near future, we have a variety of new travel guides from Frommers, Rick Steves, Fodors, and Lonely Planet in our catalog – with more on the way.

You will find books on a variety of topics in our nonfiction collection.  It is truly a gateway for exploration.

Sara Edmiston is Public Services Director at Adams County Library System.

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