Fun Books Now Available: Developing Recreational Reading Collections at Two Small Academic Libraries

Additional Speakers: 

Kenette Harder, Southwest Baptist University, Acquisitions/Collection Development Librarian
Bethany Messersmith, Southwest Baptist University, Information Literacy Librarian


Academic libraries should meet the research, informational, and recreational reading needs of their constituents. Ideally, students, faculty, and staff can rely on their library’s resources for class and work projects and for after-hours entertainment, enlightenment, and education. Yet libraries that do not already provide popular materials face challenges in developing a diverse collection of fiction and nonfiction that will be popular with faculty, staff, and students’ divergent reading interests. In early 2013, two campus libraries at Southwest Baptist University (SBU) researched the options available for such collections. SBU librarians considered the library space available, costs and technical requirements for purchasing books vs. renting them, reading interests of each library’s constituents, and needed advertising for these new collections. Our informal surveys of acquisitions librarians did not yield conclusive recommendations for academic libraries developing recreational reading collections, so we implemented two different acquisitions plans in summer 2013: one which rented books and received them shelf-ready and the other that purchased books outright and processed them in-house. These plans will be evaluated this spring and our research, decisions, and learned insights will be shared to help other librarians develop or improve their own popular collections. 


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