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How is the library’s inventory managed?

The+ever+familiar+bookshelves+of+the+library.
The ever familiar bookshelves of the library.

The ever familiar bookshelves of the library.

Brock Radford

Brock Radford

The ever familiar bookshelves of the library.

Brock Radford, Webmaster

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The school library, as many people have seen, always has a bountiful collection of books. But one thing that’s never been fully explained is how the inventory is managed. What decides which books stay and which books go?

This is the first question brought to Christine Heaton, the school librarian, who explained that new books  are required by the school or requested by either a teacher or student: “We have a lot of stuff that relates to class curriculum, like Lord of the Flies or Fahrenheit 451. And if a student comes in and asks for a book to be in the library, chances are other people want to read it.”

“We tend to replace copies that are damaged; pages barely staying together, stains, stuff like that. If they’re not on the College Board list and they’re not for a class and they’re unpopular, that’s when we take them out of rotation.”

Jack Aldana-Proulx ‘18, a student volunteer of the HBHS Library Commons staff team, commented on the cleanout they did not so long ago. “We had a lot of weird and obscure books… there was a lot of 80s fantasy stuff we got rid of. It was bad.”

“We put books on display if there’s something going on, like poetry month or memorial day.” Heaton said. “So if Black History month is going on, then we tend to put out a lot of African American authors.”

“We normally put new arrivals on display to get them some early exposure,” Proulx added.

Heaton continued, “One thing that’s interesting to me is that eBooks and audiobooks just aren’t very popular here… we only have 163 audiobooks. But playaways are getting popular, because you can just take them anywhere.” Playaways, for the uninitiated, are devices the size of a phone that have one book loaded onto them, and one book only. However, they offer a wide range of advantages, from controlling the speed of the narrator’s voice to automatically bookmarking where the listener left off.

“Another big thing is the book taste that teachers do with their freshmen.” Heaton said. “That’s definitely a big influence.”

Claire Pare, one of the English teachers that teaches freshman classes, commented that the book tastes “are great”. “I would say that it helps them get comfortable with the library to help them see that it’s not a big scary place that seniors hang out at. It helps get them engaged with books, and from a teacher’s perspective, it helps me to know what they’re interested in… I’ve seen a lot of this edgy kind of author, A.S. King. I see a lot of Harry Potter, and I’ve also been seeing a lot of nonfiction, too, and that’s really cool.”

The library’s inventory is ever changing and is always influenced by the school’s teachers and student body – so check it out for yourself. What are you waiting for?

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The student news site of Hollis Brookline High School
How is the library’s inventory managed?