Fundraisers like to tell stories about both our donors and how grateful we are to them, and about the patrons who receive the services we provide and how honored we are for their participation. At Sedona Public Library, there is another story we’d like to share: the story of a Library Book.
When you give to Sedona Public Library, you support our many programs and services, and just one of our services is our own collection of more than 61,000 books. Have you ever wondered how we choose these books? How they get into our catalog? Onto our shelves? Into your hands? The story is layered, and complex, so let’s take just a glimpse at how your Library makes tens of thousands of books available for you to enjoy.
Choosing the books is the task of our Collections Manager and Children’s Librarian, who, in my opinion, have the best job in the world: they are paid to know books! Not as in reading, necessarily, but to know what’s being read, to read reviews, consider suggestions and requests, peruse catalogs and lists, and listen thoughtfully to our patrons. They carefully determine what books are most suitable for an array of categories.
Whether for adults, or birth to teen, our experts consider books from archeology to mystery, from biography to reptiles, and beyond. They deliberate, compare, research and then they finally order the right amount of the books they believe our patrons will appreciate. The book orders are sometimes placed as often as daily, and in a year’s time, Sedona Public Library, with the help of your support, has purchased approximately 2,800 books.
Then what? Believe it or not, there’s much more ahead. Receiving and cataloging books into both our system here at the Library, and into the Yavapai Library Network System, is time-consuming work involving a team of staff and volunteers. As the minute details would take up too much space in this column, and probably bore you to tears, let’s just focus on what’s most important: patrons’ convenience and books’ safety.
You’ve probably heard of the ISBN number, the International Standard Book Number, that is, for all practical purposes, like a Social Security Number for a published book. To that 13-digit identifier, our staff adds a Radio Frequency Identification tag (RFID), a Resource Description and Access bibliographic record (RDA), a Dewey Decimal Classification System call number, date stamps, and category labels. Whew!
What purpose could all of these numbers possibly serve? It’s simple! When you look up a book on our catalog, you will find a listing about that book with the exact information you need including a summary of its contents, its availability and location, as well as its author and date of publication. This leads to your ease in finding the book in our stacks, checking it out, putting it on hold, picking it up where you need it, and finally, having it in your hands. Even if you want a book from a distant location, with interlibrary loan, that’s possible, too.
Our receiving and identifying system also provides security so that if someone accidentally walks out of the Library with a book in their satchel, the alarm will sound. Maintaining a book is no easy task, but we’ve got it covered, literally, in a crystal jacket. And we have a volunteer repair team, too.
Once a book is duly branded, stamped, marked, secured, numbered, and covered? Ah, good question. And in walks our team of volunteer shelvers. These people know our stacks inside and out. Whether pulling books that you’ve put on hold, or shelving books you’ve returned, our shelvers work diligently to keep our shelves in accurate order.
Finally, you ask, does a book’s shelf life end? Yes, it does, and that is what we call “weeding,” a systematic evaluation of our collection in order to cull the items that are no longer needed or wanted, which ultimately makes room for new books. Approximately four percent of adult and children’s collection is weeded each year, and those books go to the Friends of Sedona Library. And, that, dear reader, is another philanthropic journey entirely, for another day.
But for now, this is just a small way to say thank you for supporting our book collection and the staff and volunteers who work diligently behind the scenes, and front and center, to make sure your book finding experience is easy and enjoyable. If you ever want an up-close look at the story of a Library Book, schedule a tour, we’d love to show you.
Thank you for your support! Sedona Public Library is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. Your tax-deductible donation may be sent to: Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona, AZ 86336 or can be made online at www.sedonalibrary.org.
Sedona Public Library
Column for October 27, 2017
Written by: Anne Marie Mackler, Development Director
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News.