On doing an impromptu site visit of the library we donated to Precious Blood Girls school after meetings with Jacinta, the Principal, I came across some interesting findings.
The books were arranged nicely on the shelves, however some a little too nicely. When I pulled them down to look inside, I saw that they have never been borrowed. Repeating this to certain subjects of books we donated, I found that the majority had not been borrowed. These books – all politics, history, current events, and culture in Africa, had clean unbent spines and empty borrow cards.
The books that get borrowed to the point of exhaustion are they books that are popular with students everywhere in the world. The series books, the fantasy books – the FUN books. We donated three copies of each hunger games book and they are all well used, and constantly out of the library. City of Bones series is the same, as is Game of Thrones, Twilight series, Harry Potter, Da Vinci Code series etc.
There is an element that we will need to investigate further. The books that are getting checked out of the library are not books that would ever be used for class work, and thus would need to be read in their own time. Whereas, the books that I found are not getting borrowed, tie in very closely with the curriculum, and so are perhaps being used in library classes and library lessons, and by teachers, but for specific projects which don’t require checking out.
This is something we will need to look into, as we will need to consider the value of even the most informative, academic books, if they are not being used. At what point do they no longer add value to a library space? Or should they always be kept there?