Selecting large-print books for the library

by Jessica Lagonsky

One of the best pieces of my job is selecting books to purchase for the Adams County Library System. I think I can speak for my colleagues when I say there is great joy in connecting the community with a new favorite book or author, as well as making sure the latest by a very popular author is in the library system.

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For the past several years, I have selected the large print fiction and nonfiction books for the library.  Large print books are those books that have larger type, making the words easier to read – anyone who has had to squint at the tiny font in a small paperback will know what I mean! Over the years, large print books have grown to include all genres, from fiction and horror to nonfiction and biographies. What once tended to be extremely limited availability of titles from publishers has certainly grown to help with the demand from readers. But why are some authors missing from the large print collection? Why are there more fiction titles than nonfiction titles? Allow me to explain…

Not every book published in regular print is offered as a large print book. There are a small group of large print publishers in the publishing industry, and not every major publishing house has a large print imprint or separate division/department. Furthermore, large print books are not necessarily released or published at the same time as regular print books. There are exceptions – books by very popular authors such as James Patterson may be published on the same day as regular print books – but large print readers may have to wait weeks or months for a recently released regular print book to appear in large print. Because of this, not every publishing house has a large print version of their regular print books, and not every author has a large print version of their books. This also limits the number of nonfiction and biography titles available in large print – the focus is more on popular authors and titles that will draw wider audience interest.

Never fear, though! As I look for additions to the large print collection, I try to provide a variety of genres of large print each month. Purchasing very popular authors each month is the first step – making sure I have at least one copy of the latest by James Patterson or Danielle Steel or David Baldacci, for instance. I also review the waiting lists for titles and authors – should I buy another copy of a particular book? Then, I look at every large print title set to be published during a given month. I will select a variety of books – inspirational, nonfiction, mystery, even horror – based on reviews and an overall variety that provides a number of choices for the Adams County community. Some titles are only available in paperback; conversely, some titles are only available in hardcover. Pricing for a large print book is slightly more than a regular print book, so I have to look at the budget and make sure I’m within my spending limits.

If you have a suggestion for a large print purchase, do not hesitate to fill out the Materials Purchase Request form on the ACLS website: https://www.adamslibrary.org/form/purchase-request .

Jessica Laganosky is Branch Director, Jean Barnett Trone Memorial Library of East Berlin

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