Your opinion, please…
Last week, I received a great new book, Who’s Looking at You? by Stéphane Frattini. (Sterling, 2012). It’s a collection of 18 stunningly photographed eyeballs on lift-the-flap pages for the reader to guess. I couldn’t wait to share it with my co-workers and local kids.
“Check this out!” I said, as I showed a colleague. “I’m putting this one in my story time collection. I love it!” (I often do this with pop-ups, pull-tabs, and lift-the-flap books that damage easily, or other favorite books that I like to have readily available for last-minute or unexpected needs.)We had a great time trying to guess the owner of each beautiful eyeball. Snail? No problem. Blue-spotted grouper? Chameleon? Not so easy.
However, after the fun was over, my colleague was troubled by my decision to put the book in the storytime collection (i.e., closet). She argued that it’s best placed in the hands of children who will enjoy it. I argued that if I put it in circulation, it may circulate only 1 or 2 times before it is destroyed by over-eager hands. In the end, I felt guilty and put it into circulation, sparing it a long, though relatively boring, “shelf-life” in the “story time collection.”
Some final stats:
My library system purchased 10 copies of Who’s Looking at You? for 10 different branches, each branch having discretion over the book’s placement.
4 are currently checked out
1 branch hasn’t processed theirs yet (it’s been a busy summer!)
3 are sitting on shelves
2 branches chose to make their books non-circulating (my original plan)
I infer from these statistics that other librarians also find this situation a quandry.
So, here’s my question:
What do you do with these types of books? Where does the greater good lie in this situation? Keep the book in good condition and share it selectively with (hopefully) appreciative audiences, or make it available to those children and parents who will seek it out purposefully, ensuring that it is enjoyed, if only for a short while?
(For the record, my copy was checked out the same day and hasn’t come back yet.)