From time to time, we’ll use this space to summarize some of the messages we receive (keeping any private information private) and share with you the responses we send.
Q: In this period of budget cutting, I think Arlington Public Library should consider asking patrons to consider donating current titles to supplement those purchased by the Library. Is this on your radar?
A: Like many of libraries, Arlington Public Library is actively taking advantage of donations to the collections.
It is a delicate balancing act to solicit specific title donations and successfully predict and manage the results. To meet immediate demand, the Library orders popular new works in multiple quantities, generally weeks or even months before publication. These items are received from the vendors fully processed and nearly shelf-ready, making it possible to manage increasing volume with fewer staff. In turn it becomes less cost-effective to prepare books for circulation on-site and to manage specific single copy donations.
You are probably already aware of the semiannual Friends of the Arlington Public Library book sales and the year-round used book store at Central Library and in the branches. These outlets provide tremendous monetary support for Library collections, and serve as very effective resources for a continuous supply of pristine and very current titles. A dedicated group of volunteers works at Central Library on a daily basis sorting, pricing and packing donated books for the sales. They also review collection development wish lists and supply needed replacement and supplemental titles for the collections.
The number of donated titles added to the collections has increased dramatically over the past year, and now averages at least 50 items per week. This helps the Library replace popular standard works that have been well-used and are in need of refreshing, as well as providing good-condition copies of many older works no longer available for purchase in hard cover.
Through the Friends, the Library also participates in the “My Library Bookstore” program that provides a monetary return to the Library for every book purchased by a customer. You’ll find the blue MLB button by scrolling down the right hand side of the Library home page.
Library staff regularly share best practices with other libraries across the country, take advantage of new and proven project ideas and welcome comments from dedicated users. Thank you for the assistance.
Q: Because I found such materials lacking in the catalog, I suggested several art instruction books and CDs for the Library collection. I was informed all were rejected because they were not offered by authorized vendors. I find this shocking. Please provide information on how the vendor process works.
A: We’re sorry you were dissatisfied with the automated response to your purchase request. The volume of purchase suggestions received by the Library precludes an individual staff response to each request. However, each purchase request is reviewed for a decision by collection development staff.
Per County purchasing regulations, the Library bids a materials acquisitions contract at prescribed intervals, and is authorized to purchase from a pool of vendors that respond to the Request For Proposal and successfully meet the Library’s criteria for discount pricing, scope of inventory, shelf-ready vendor packaging and labeling, etc. Suppliers on the current contract include Ingram Library Services, Baker & Taylor and Brodart. Our contract vendors for media materials are Recorded Books and Midwest Tape.
You note an absence of art instruction books in the Library’s collections. We are very proud of the scope and range of the Library collections and regularly review and proactively redevelop all subject areas. All art areas were addressed just last quarter, and I am confident you will be seeing a significant number of new title additions on art technique subjects becoming available over the next few months. The Library maintains a limited collection of instructional DVDs because experience has shown that DVD is not a format preferred by our community for “how-to” information. Because the specific titles you suggested were not available, collection development staff has also ordered a number of new DVDs on artists, schools and art techniques.
The Library welcomes your suggestions for more specific art technique subject areas that you believe would benefit from further enhancement. The online purchase suggestion form is the best way assure your suggestions are promptly reviewed.
We hope this information is helpful.