On Walden Cassette Tape. For teens.

One of the big things that reading about non-print materials has got me thinking about is the level of transience of resources being purchased.  With audiovisual items, not only does the library have to deal with the transience of the content, but also with the ever more swiftly outdated nature of the format.  In my textbook for my class on Materials for Young Adults, written in 2004, Anderson advises to “purchase on tape or compact disc” (p.191).  I cringed a little.

Books seem to me more constant.  One of my favorites is Alan Mendelsohn the Boy from Mars.  It was written in 1978, which was the year I was born, and by the time I found it, was the ripe old age of 13.  And I still loved it, and found it relevant, and I could see people who are teenagers now still reading it.  Granted, it is not an extremely popular book (and wasn’t even back when I was 13) but it has an Amazon sales rank of #144,605, so someone is buying it.  In contrast, the main musical act that was popular when I was 13 was New Kids on the Block.  They do have a reunion tour this year, and people are attending, but I don’t think they are being overrun with screaming teenage fans.  In fact I think their initial popularity lasted about four years, and they went swiftly downhill after that.  If a library is “plac[ing] more emphasis on popularity” for its non-print collection, it may be stuck with a lot of obsolete material quite quickly (Anderson, p.192, 2004).

So the challenge then, is to find materials which teens will like, which will not blow through the budget.  I think the increasingly digitized nature of information will bring up some interesting solutions.  One which has already been implemented is to use Netflix , which “supplements the collection and also can be used to screen potential library purchases”  (Blumenstein, 2008).  If Netflix works for libraries, there is also a business called Gamefly which offers a similar service for video games.  Granted this is not necessarily using the service exactly as intended, but “no one has seen any kind of ‘reminder’ from Netflix the corporate entity banning libraries from using this service” (Burchfield, 2009).

I’m not sure of all the parameters with adding digital music to the collection, I have a feeling there may be copyright issues, and I’m not sure lending would work.  The SFPL has databases which allow music to be streamed over the internet, but it seems as though most of its easily findable music is on CD.  Perhaps highlighting the digital music the library does have might be a good way to get teens to notice it.  I also think that providing MP3s (integrated into the collection) might be a draw to get teens to look at the other electronic resources the library offers (like the journals).

The other non-print format that I think is a great idea: board games.  Although how you would keep the pieces all in one place, I have no idea.

Anderson, S.  (2004). Serving older teens.  Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Blumenstein, L. (2008).  Small libraries start using Netflix.  Library Journal.  Retrieved July, 9, 2009 from http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6547075.html?q=netflix

Burchfield, N. (2009, April 15).  Netflix has a long tail. It’s true, I saw it in the library.  Librarian, Interrupted.   Retrieved July, 9, 2009 from http://librarianinterrupted.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/netflix-has-a-long-tail-its-true-i-saw-it-in-the-library/

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