Highlight Hidden Gems with Curated Collections
by Jill Grunenwald, librarian and OverDrive Collection Development Analyst.
It’s a situation I’m sure you’re all familiar with: The new hot book comes out and it’s just flying off your shelves. There’s, like, a million holds (okay, slight exaggeration) and everyone wants to read it and you have to keep buying copies to meet demand… and then a couple of years go by and now that hot title has turned lukewarm and you have 100 copies hanging around in your digital that nobody is checking out. We want to help you change that.
In a physical library these take up valuable real estate but even with a digital library you don’t want books getting (virtually) dusty. Luckily there is a way to maximize those multiple copies and get them right in front of the eyes of your readers by identifying those titles and putting them into a curated collection.
Check title status and reporting first
When I create these collections for libraries, I start with the Title Status and Usage Report, which allows me to pull a list of all titles in the collection, going all the way back to the first title the library purchased. I like filtering by One Copy / One User titles since these are ones that permanent titles in your collection, the ones that are going to be hanging around on your digital shelves forever. On the one hand, this is great because it means you never have to worry about them expiring but, on the other hand, sometimes you end up with upwards of 20 copies that aren’t being checked out.
Once the Title Status and Usage Report is exported I’m working with a huge spreadsheet of titles, but there are some filtering options that will help narrow it down:
1) Pre-orders: Delete all pre-orders. Remember, we want to focus on titles that are currently available for circulation.
2) Active Holds: Depending on how many copies of a title you own, some of them may have active checkouts but will still be appropriate for the list. What we don’t want is active holds, as it means the demand for the book is greater than the current supply. I sort the Active Hold column from smallest to largest and delete everything with holds.
3) Copies Owned: This column we want to sort and filter from largest to smallest as we are looking for those high volume but low circulating titles. The more copies of a title the better in this case.
Now comes the fun part.
Select titles to put in the curated collection
Right now I’m working with Library X and I’ve taken out pre-orders, I’ve filtered out books with active holds, and my spreadsheet is sorted by copies owned. The first book on the list is now Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl: the library owns 200 copies and right now, only 30 of them are checked out. I also have The Martian (130 copies, 30 checked out), and The Help (60 copies, 5 checked out).
Whether you want to title your curated collection Hidden Gems, Hot Picks, Available Now! or anything else, these are all examples of titles that are perfect for this collection.
From here, it’s completely at your discretion for which titles to include in your curated collection. At this point, just remember to keep that active checkout column in mind: If you own 45 copies of a book and 40 are checked out, it might not be the best option when there are other titles with a wider gap so just be mindful of that when selecting titles.
This might seem a little overwhelming and with the new OverDrive site you’ll be able to create auto-generated collections that will pull low circulating titles that are currently available, but if you want to zero in on those books like Gone Girl, The Martian, or The Help and other books owned in multiples you’ll have to do a little digging but once you pull that shiny little diamond out of the dirt it will be well worth the effort.