(Image of wrap-up from Sara Kelly Johns)
The SLJ Summit (see our Ning) focused us on issues of collection. I’ve been trying to pull ideas together and make meaning of many fascinating conversations. I thought I’d take the temperature of a larger audience with a couple of polls. I’ll keep you posted as results come in.
Let me start with one that began at our wrap-up session. The question was what to buy?
With all the vendors present, and all those amazing new products we were hearing about, many of us were feeling a disconnect.
We are overwhelmed with desire. But our budgets are not what they once were.
So what do you buy?
Poll #1: How do you make the tough choices in tough times? That was one question the panel posed to the audience.
Diane Chen said she buys what they ask for. She buys the books her students want. She buys the books the teachers she works with ask for.
This led to a discussion about serendipity.
I thought back to everything I learned more than thirty years ago in grad school (the first time around). I learned about building balanced collections. About ensuring that various viewpoints were represented. About ensuring that great authors, and classics, and best sellers were represented. That as my users/patrons/members browsed my collection, there would always be something to happen upon and discover.
But I wonder if what I learned about having a just-in-case collection makes any sense right now in a just-in-time, just-for-me, 24/7 demand-met universe. Is serendipity dead?
The idea of a Maslow’s hierarchy for purchasing emerged. I’d like to play around with drawing one, but I am not sure Maslow’s notion of needs being met before climbing to self-actualization really fits the important-purchases model. Perhaps it would be more like the food pyramid? And then, I wonder if each of us has too many varying local needs for a universal pyramid to make much sense.
So here’s the desert-island question. You have to make only one of of these tough choices or fill in your own one other. In tight times, what do you buy first? What is the most important purchase?
How do you order?
One of the very interesting questions emerging from the reference panel was the importance of the paper catalog. The vendors were listening very closely to our responses. Let’s open it up a little bit with this poll: