After surveying over 300 students in our school about their reading interests, our student book budget team set some purchasing goals for this year. A group of students met to examine the data and see what it was telling us about our library and our readers. The genres that received the biggest amount of votes was of course noticeable to the students, but they also paid attention to sections of the library that didn’t get many votes and wondered why. We had a great conversation about how those sections might need more books to be more noticeable or maybe we might do something to bring attention to those sections like a reading challenge or BTV announcement. This was the first year that the student book budget team spent so much time talking about sections that didn’t get many votes on the survey, and I was very proud that they made this noticing and took time to discuss it.
Eventually, they decided to focus their attention on some specific sections for this year’s budget.
- humor (picture and chapter)
- graphic novels
- ghosts and mysterious things (information)
- animals (picture and information)
- fun facts (information)
- scary (chapter)
- fantasy (chapter)
- historical fiction (chapter)
I sent these goals to Jim Boon, our sales rep with Capstone. He began curating a collection of books from Capstone that met our needs as well as sent us a Capstone catalog for each student. We scheduled time to meet with him in person.
Before Jim’s Visit
We held one book budget session before we met with Jim. This gave me time to show students the Capstone catalogs and get familiar with them. It also allowed me time to show students how to use the barcode feature in the catalog to help make lists. I setup a book budget list in my Capstone account and students practiced scanning the barcode in the catalog to add books to our list. I showed students how the website would show if we already had a book and how to deselect books and save the updated changes.
We also used this 1st session to talk about our purchasing goals and the importance of staying focused on those goals as we looked at so many tempting books.
During Jim’s Visit
Jim arrived early and setup a display table of books. He divided his books into 2 displays: fiction and nonfiction. I put a catalog and list of goals at each chair. Typically, I meet with grade levels separately, but for Jim’s visit, I got permission from teachers to bring all students together at the same time. About 39 of our book budget students signed up to meet with Jim.
I gave a quick reminder about our goals and turned things over to Jim. He showed students his displays and some features of the catalog like the index and page headings. He also encouraged students to look at the books in the display and then look for the additional books in the series in the catalog. He had students put their names on their catalogs and encouraged them to circle items and fold pages they were interested in. We didn’t want a massive line of 30 kids waiting to scan barcodes, so folded/marked pages will help us come back to those selections. Students could still scan into the list, but we can also work on this another day. We also reminded students not to worry about our budget at this stage. They should look for books that fit our goals and look interesting for the readers at our school.
I asked for a student volunteer to run our computer and scanner. This student was responsible for managing the small line of students waiting to scan books into the list. They deselected books already in our collection and saved changes along the way. This allowed me to walk around and have conversations with students looking at books and catalogs.
Jim was great about moving from table to table and having one-on-one conversations with students. He helped them find things in the catalog and talked about the books in the display. He was really good at keeping up with who he hadn’t had a chance to chat with yet and tried to make it to as many of the students as possible during our time.
After about 45 minutes, we wrapped up our time and thanked Jim for coming to visit us. I asked for some volunteers to come back for a follow up session.
In the end, there were lots of books students were excited about. Here are a few:
- the continuation of the Far Out Fairy Tales
- Michael Dahl’s Phobia series
- the Ghosts and Hauntings series
- Hands on Science Fun series which includes a book on making slime
- the Real Life Ghost Stories series
- the Mythical Creatures series
- Graphic History: Warriors
- Expert Pet Care
- Michael Dahl’s Screams in Space
- Boo Books series
A group of 3 students returned to look through the catalogs for books that were marked. They scanned these books into our consideration list too. I was amazed at how fast this went. They were very focused on our purchasing goals and only added books that were marked AND fit our goals. We also looked through the list for duplicate books that got scanned in twice and clean up the list.
Once we leave for winter break, our Capstone consideration list will be ready for the next step: the budget. We will visit our local independent bookstore, Avid Bookshop, first, and make a consideration list with them too. Once both lists are made, a group of students will have some negotiations to decide which books make the final list for ordering.