He also said that when local authors use photos from the Society’s enormous historical photo collections, they ask the authors to donate a copy of the book when it is published. He said they usually do, but sometimes not.
Next we spoke with, Brenda Baxter, Knowledge Services Coordinator for the Washoe County Library in Reno. She oversees the selection and ordering of all WCLS materials including circulating materials, reference, databases, ebooks, periodicals, and the like. I asked her several questions regarding their acquisitions.
Where do you get your new books? “We order the vast majority of our books from Baker and Taylor. Very rarely, we go directly to a vendor when we cannot get a title from B & T.”
Where do you get collectible or antiquarian books? “As a public library, we offer very few books of this nature and the few we have are donated.”
How and when do you make the decision to send the books to the Friends of the Library sales? “Books must fit into a set of criteria for us to add to our collection. This criteria is consistent with our collection development policy.”
I noted that the books they accept required the same physical characteristics that I require when I buy books, and I think most book buyers look for the same thing; no writing, highlighting, inscriptions, or markings on materials, no yellow pages or water-damaged materials, no rips, tears, no stinkyness or smoke smell. She said they also do not take advance copies of books, cassette tapes, or magazines. In the case of non-fiction, they want books no older than three years, especially when concerned with computers, legal, or medical subjects. With fiction and audio books, they want books no older than five years (except for the classics) and they must have no more than four other titles in the system - and then only if the books are in high demand. All donations that do not fit into these criteria are sent to the Friends Store and Sales.
We next spoke to Katherine Gienger, Operations Manager for the Monographic and Serial Paper unit of Collections and Acquisitions services for the University of New Mexico library. Katherine has been in the department for thirty-one years and was kind enough to chat with me about their acquisition policies.
How do you decide what books to buy? She said that the heads of the collections department “ambassadors” (as they are called) consult with faculty in each department such as history, economics, sciences, or others. The faculty reviews the offerings and then decides what they want to purchase.
Do you ever buy from independent booksellers or from online sellers such as Amazon, ABE or Alibris? She noted that if a bookseller has a book that they feel the University might want, they can contact the acquisitions folks and, if the price is right and they want the book, then they will buy it.
She said that they do buy from all three online sellers, depending on price and subject matter. They have many vendors that they usually use, but if they are in a rush for a book and their usual contacts don’t have it, they will check Amazon, ABE, et al. And of course, they want to get the best prices possible.