Department Spotlight: Acquisitions

The Acquisitions Department L-R: Manager Yvette Blandford, Cheryl Herndon, Jylene Henning and Rob Moledor
The Acquisitions Department L-R: Manager Yvette Blandford, Cheryl Herndon, Jylene Henning and Rob Moledor (photo by Dalia Soza)

The Acquisitions Department is rarely seen when a person visits the building, but holds a very important role in the Library.  The staff in this department select and order all the physical and digital materials you see in the Library building and the computer catalog database. They spend hours going through catalogs, book lists, best seller lists and suggestions that the vendors send to put together orders every month.  You may not know this, but the Acquisitions Manager, Yvette Blandford,  takes patron requests for items to purchase and add to the collection.  If you have a suggestions for an item, ask the Patron Services staff for a form.

Once the orders are shipped to the Library, the Acquisitions staff process all the materials.  Doing all the processing in-house saves the Library money, versus paying the vendors to place all the book covers, labels and stickers on the items.  Because the Acquisitions team does all this, they also need to keep track of their processing supplies, and often place orders to replenish.  

Once the books have been selected, purchased, and processed, the items need to be entered into the Library's computer catalog database, which we share with 97 other SEO Libraries.  Then the items make their way downstairs to the New Items shelves to be chosen and taken home by our browsing patrons, or the new items are sent out to fulfill hold requests, both at LPL and any other SEO Library.  This is why placing holds on new items is so important.  Placing holds before release day gets these new items to you more quickly--our Library patrons who place holds get Louisville items first.

Besides selecting, ordering, processing and cataloging new items, the Acquisitions team is responsible for maintaining the catalog.  They use a system called BLUEcloud Analytics to analyze the database and run reports to manage the Louisville Public Library portion of the catalog.  That means:

  • keeping the database up to date regarding Louisville items
  • removing items that haven't circulated in years, both physically and from the database
  • performing inventory so we know exactly what items the Library has
  • finding items that have been marked as missing, most of which are mis-shelved
  • making sure items are on the correct records in the database, and that the bibliographic records, which tell exactly what an items is, are correct
  • maintaining Library items with some repairs, like resurfacing DVDs

The record-keeping extends to the budget as well.   Acquisitions gets a budget at the beginning of every year to spend on materials, and the team works to decide what to purchase and where to get the most for the money.  There are hard choices to make with this limited budget, but the Acquisitions department is tasked with spending  the taxpayers' money as wisely as possible.  The department keeps detailed records of every penny spent, and balances that spending with the fiscal officer.  Acquisitions is well-known for lots of colorful binders for their record-keeping.  They must be meticulous and methodical in all they do. Most of that money is spent on new materials, of course, but the Acquisitions team also assesses items for replacement, including older items that patrons still want to borrow, when they're damaged, soiled, or showing too much wear-and-tear to be usable.

Through out the year, the Acquisitions Department make goals to complete tasks. An ongoing task that will take a few more years to finish is updating the spine labels on all of the Library's fiction books.  They are adding the author's last name and firt initial to every fiction label to help patrons an staff find things more easily on the shelves.  Acquisitions is also updating school collection book.  These are sets of books set aide just for teacher requests, and for each teacher who signs up, his or her classroom gets 50 Library books every quarter.  Like adults, kids want the newest book in that popular series, and up-t0-date nonfiction books as well!

If you happen to see any of our Acquisitions staff, be sure to thank them for all of their hard work behind the scenes.  We're not a Library without the collection that they put together for us!

**more photos coming soon