Several years ago, shortly after attending Lincoln City Libraries’ annual book sale, my colleague, Allana Novotny, said to me – do you think it would be a good idea to have multiple copies of books we could lend to libraries for their book groups? That was ten years ago and not only have we not looked back, now we struggle to make room for our ever growing Book Club Collection of over 1,200 titles and nearly 12,000 physical volumes. Each month we average a circulation of over 1,000 volumes (including regular and large print books, audiobooks, and DVDs) from this collection to libraries around the state.
Looking back, there are many people to whom we owe thanks for helping make this service such a success:
- First and foremost – to Vern Buis, our Computer Services Director, who helped create and design a very user-friendly database and webpage http://nlc.nebraska.gov/Ref/Bookclub/,with auto-fill request forms, special search capabilities by holiday, Nebraska themes, and most recently the Nebraska 150 book list celebrating the state’s sesquicentennial.
- To Devra Dragos who created a special template for entering records in our catalog so we can reserve and check out book kits when they are requested by a library.
- To the many librarians and patrons who have donated books to our collection – many directly from their book group after reading and discussing that title.
- To all the shoppers at book sales, thrift shops, and used book stores, who have purchased (and many times delivered) books for our collection.
- Last but not least – thank you to the libraries and schools who use our collection and tell us how helpful it is to their community.
I’m pleased that we support book clubs throughout the state and have heard wonderful stories of your gatherings. To continue assisting you, we have provided NCompass Live sessions on how to select titles and lead discussions with your book group.
Because of the great success of the book groups, we very nearly wear out Mary Geibel, who works with you all to make and confirm reservations, sometimes for many months in advance. She sends out books and checks them in with email confirmations and conducts an annual inventory each summer to make sure everything is correct as advertised on our webpage.
If anyone had told me in library school that I’d spend a significant amount of time on book clubs and a special collection just for serving groups in the state, I’m quite certain I wouldn’t have believed it. Growing and cultivating this service has been one of the most satisfying accomplishments of my years at the Library Commission. Happy Anniversary.