Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More of Book 1...

We've had increased business this year (yay!) - in particular, a lot of junior classes in the fiction area.  After the first busy week, when lots of kids borrowed, I found myself (not unexpectedly) a tad short in the Book 1 department in favourite series. 

Lots of kids like to read a series (der! - but stay with me, I'm not going to stick with the bleeding obvious).  They like (as do adults, as it would be polite to admit) to know that if they enjoyed this book, this lot of characters, this style of writing, this world, this story - well, there's another one to go on to, more fun to be had.  And why not?  If someone has written something so engaging, it's comfortable and welcoming and pleasurable to revisit and journey on.  We humans are creatures of habit, and you see this pattern not only in reading.

So enthusiastic teacher librarian hand-sells Book 1 of a series to kid A, and then, after a week of junior classes borrowing furiously, finds a certain shortage of Book 1 in several popular series.  And, with most YA series, the novels are sequential, so you need to read them in order and you need to read Book 1.  I do do reserves in this situation, but that's not always good enough.  If it's a sequential series, kids generally (and unsurprisingly) want to read it in order.  I don't enjoy seeing books 2 onwards languishing on the shelves while one student has Book 1 (esp. when as sometimes happens it's in the hands of a student who forgets they have it, forgets to bring it back, renews it three times...)

So I've been gradually adding a second copy of Book 1 in popular series.  My wonderful local independent bookshop recently had Artemis Fowl for only $6.95 (I bought two).  Other series with doubles include Temeraire, Ranger's Apprentice, Pendragon, Percy Jackson, Twilight, Tomorrow When the War Began and, oh, if you've been a teacher librarian for more than five minutes I'm sure you could compose your own list - there are many more.

Part of my logic is that not every kid will stick with every series, nor read at the same pace of course.  But if they get Book 1, and it hooks them, then they can tag-team through the rest if they are not the only current enthusiast.  It's a way of encouraging more readers to read the whole series, to ensure later books find friends too.  Not every kid who reads Book 1 will go on to read the rest; but the more who read Book 1, the greater the percentage who will.

For a few series (Tomorrow When... would be the classic example) I have at least two copies of each book in the series.  With that one, some kids read it all the way through in one go, others read a couple then come back to read a couple more, and in my ten or so years at this library I've bought the whole lot at least once, as some copies were loved to death and fell to bits.




Fiona said...

Hi Ruth. My son's school library just got the first two Skullduggary Pleasant books, and my son is the happy first borrower of book 1! Another boy in his class is cursing him! So I guess they could do with more of book 1 :)

Shane Symonds said...

Ruth : Yes, it happens, doesn't it? We have got sometimes 3 and 4 copies of some titles and in most cases, all of them are out. Skullduggery? Gone. Vamp Academy? Gone. Many others, as well. But that is a good thing, eh? Well done! Shane