By Ann Lehue, MSIS, Senior Manager, Collection Development, Ingram Library Services
“You’ll never spend the whole budget, so you don’t really need to track it,” said my library coworker when I started purchasing the Adult Nonfiction section.
“You’ve never seen me shop,” I replied. And yes, I did spend the budget, along with her leftover money since my mom (who grew up in poverty with eight siblings) taught me to never leave cash on the table.
Balancing the budget the last few months of the year presents challenges, with variations in stock, invoicing, and publishing dates even in a “normal” year, let alone a year where some of us are working from home, some are working in the library closed to the public, some are furloughed, and some have seen deep staff cuts. At the same time, publishers are delaying some publications, limiting stock, and in some cases having to find new printers and change how they do business.
For the year 2020, the primary challenges in year-end-spending will be avoiding gaps while things are disrupted and protecting and spending your budget on time.
6 Ways to Avoid Gaps
1. Avoiding Gaps with Ordering and Holds
In the publishing world, libraries stand in line to get books with independent bookstores, national chains, big box retailers, and small and giant online merchants. In good news for book lovers, retail book sales remain strong… the print book is very much alive. However, this means that libraries don’t want to get out of line for the newest and most popular titles.
The best way to stay in the queue so that we commit stock to you is to continue ordering as usual, and then managing the shipment options to fit your library’s needs:
- If you are in the library to receive stock, please notify your shippers directly and leave big signs so that they don’t just drive by, see that you aren’t open to the public, and return the boxes to Ingram.
- If you are not in the library or don’t want to receive stock yet, you can continue ordering to maintain your spot in the queue and to avoid a pile-up of work when you return by emailing the Ingram Library Account Services team to place a hold on your account so that we don’t ship until you contact us to release that hold. Please include your Account Name and the Bill-To Account Number to ensure we place the correct library on hold—several have similar or the same name in different states.
- If your account is on hold and you are ready to release it, contact your field or inside sales representative. They will follow up with several questions, and the more quickly they get the answers, the closer to the front of the line you will be. You will need to contact your local UPS hub to report that you are open and ensure that they will not return the materials to Ingram.
2. Avoiding Gaps with iCurate Complimentary: Commitment-Free New Title Alert Programs/strong>
Many libraries use our suite of complimentary Standing Order Programs to get lists of titles to order, and it will be faster, safer, and easier for you to continue getting these lists to avoid missing titles and having to rework enrollments. If you have Auto-ship, you can continue to get in the queue for forthcoming titles. If your account is on hold, these Auto-ship orders will also hold and will be sitting there waiting for you when you release the hold.
You also have 24/7 access to ipage and your standing order programs from home or any other internet-enabled location, so you can place orders to be shipped later if you are working from home. Even if you cannot work right now, leaving the Report Only Standing Order lists going will ensure that the lists of titles for you to edit will all be in place upon your return.
In Need of Commitment-Free Alerts and 24/7 ipage Access?
3. Avoiding Gaps with iCurate Complimentary: Free Curated Lists
Ingram also provides complimentary ipage lists that are hand-curated by our MLS-degreed collection development librarians under the Curated Lists tab>Complimentary. These lists include monthly High Interest Title Selections, which show the titles three months prepublication that we think will be the most popular for public libraries.
Additionally, our librarians are creating subject and trending lists, such as Feminist Dystopias, Survival & Adventure Graphic Novels, and Teen Novels in Verse, located in the Virtual Book Display under each age group.
If you are weeding or filling in specific sections during this time, visit the Top Library Titles lists, or if you are doing a diversity audit, check out our pages on African American, Asian, Indigenous Peoples, Latinx, LGBTQIA+, and Middle Eastern interest, along with our Social Awareness pages. For those preparing for summer reading, we have posted lists for Summer Reading Club 2020.
Don’t Miss the Complimentary Lists Available in ipage.
If you need to receive titles by the end of your fiscal year, you can sort the lists by availability and order those showing in stock at your primary and/or secondary warehouse.
4. Avoiding Gaps and Spending Your Budget with an iCurate Coming Soon: Monthly Forthcoming Title List Subscription
Another way to avoid gaps and save time finding titles (so that you can focus on getting reopened or on selecting more local titles) is by subscribing to iCurate Coming Soon and receiving monthly hand-selected lists of forthcoming titles. Featuring far more than simply the bestsellers, this annual subscription offers three size options by category so you can efficiently maintain a relevant . You can subscribe to Adult, Children’s, and/or Teen lists in either small, medium, or large—there is no price difference between sizes. The subscription is $775 per year for each age group, or you can subscribe to all three for $2,100.
Your enrollment includes a bonus easy-deduping feature that removes EANs that you hold, have on order, or have in another list already. Simply click on the left filter bar and select the duplicates that you want to include or exclude:
If you have an ipage account and are ready to get started, click on Curated Lists>iCurate Coming Soon/Get Started and follow the instructions. You will be billed and receive your first set of lists on the first of the month. The lists include a catch-up list of all the titles that have run on the program that have not yet published, which will help fill in those gaps and year-end spending.
In Need of Coming Soon and 24/7 ipage Access?
5. Filling Gaps and Spending Your Budget with an iCurate Core: Essential Collection Gap Analysis Purchase
Libraries with more significant gaps or who want to do a gap analysis on their collection while they have some end-of-year funds may want to fill them by purchasing iCurate Core. Sometimes budgets get slashed for a while, or we lose a selector and can’t catch up, or a librarian leaves and we discover that they have only been buying their favorite authors or section. Sometimes we take over a collection and simply want to know where to start.
Ingram’s Collection Development librarians have all worked in public libraries and have struggled with these issues first-hand. The iCurate Core: Essential Collection Gap Analysis for the public library allows a library or an adult, teen, and/or children’s area to rebalance their collection with a one-time list suite of essential titles that they are currently missing – whether classics, evergreen standards, or new releases. We then compare your holdings (author/title match) to the lists to let you know which titles you are missing.
These lists provide a starting place to show which essential and currently popular titles are missing so that you don’t have to spend weeks or months analyzing the collection and searching for replacement titles to order. They could also be used after weeding to replace essential items that got pulled because of condition. Each set of lists (Adult, Teen, Children’s) costs $1,000… get all three for $2,800. If you have an ipage account and are ready to get started, click on Curated Lists>iCurate Core/Get Started and follow the instructions.
Easily Maintain a Relevant Collection with iCurate.
6. Spending Your Budget with a Proforma Invoice
Many libraries can put a specific amount of money on their accounts for future spending—called a proforma invoice. This is a great way to pay now to avoid losing 2020 funds and to order titles later when you have more time and things have settled down in the publishing world. If you’re interested in a proforma invoice, schedule a time to connect with your Ingram Sales Representative.
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