Magazine article American Libraries

Acquisition in Times of Trouble

Magazine article American Libraries

Acquisition in Times of Trouble

Article excerpt

By most measures, one of the things that ALA has always done well is recommend books. Through review periodicals and an elaborate awards system, the Association, from its inception, has been in the business of recommending and celebrating not only superior writing but also illustration and nonprint media. The Newbery and Caldecott awards are the gold standard for children's literature. A Booklist starred review is a publisher's dream.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This year, American Libraries has pulled together a list of many of ALA's award-winners, including outstanding reference sources--representing the best of the best for children, teens, and adults. Why would we choose to highlight books you should buy at a time when acquisition budgets are being slashed everywhere?

Years ago, when I worked in acquisitions for the literature department at Detroit Public Library, I remember keeping something we called a "want list." This list consisted of books we had missed or been unable to buy in previous years but that were essential to the collection. "When we did have the money, we would purchase from the want list, often from used book dealers, and happily fill gaps in the collection. It was one way to deal with a mission that cannot succumb to the vagaries of the economy.

Giving us the inside scoop on what's happening with the economy and its effect on libraries and ALA are Emily Sheketoff, director of the Washington Office, and Keith Michael Fiels, executive director of ALA (p. …

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