This fall, my library's collection development librarian will retire, and I see this as an opportunity for us to rethink how we handle collection development. We currently manage our materials and budget in a fairly traditional way -- a formula-based book allocation process, separate budgets for books and periodicals, with most electronic resources falling into the periodicals budget. The collection development librarian sends Choice cards to departmental faculty, who make most of the books selections. We are a small academic library, with professionals including myself (I am the director).

I'd love to hear how other libraries are handling collection development in this new environment, how budgeting models have changed, what tools are proving useful. Also, have you taken into account the print on demand services such as Lulu? One of my librarians (also a poet) has recently published a book of his poetry through Lulu. Are we missing potentially good works if we restrict ourselves to the traditional publishers?

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I've just ordered Walt Crawford's book Balanced Libraries (for myself) from Lulu. One of the reasons I haven't recommended it for library purchase yet was the question of durability--quality of materials, not of content. I'm expecting it any day now, so I'll repost when it comes in and I have a chance to look it over.
I got it over the weekend and I'm impressed. It's at least as good as your average mass market paperback and better than a lot I've gotten in bookstores from big publishers. The binding (glue block) seems solid, and didn't creak or feel like it was going to split when I opened the pages wide. The paper is definitely better than your average paperback novel. Not quite like a paperback from an academic publisher but getting into that range. The quality of the photo on the cover is also good (and a very pretty photo it is, too.)

It probably wouldn't stand up to heavy library use, but few paperbacks can. For that matter, it seems solid enough and to have enough margin space that it could easily be rebound as a hard back volume if that seemed necessary.

Anyway, I don't think that anyone should let the quality of the construction prevent them from ordering something from Lulu for their library.



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