Winding down the year: part 1

Hourglassphoto © 2010 John Morgan | more info (via: Wylio)
My lack of posts lately is a symptom of this busy time of year. I’m sure you are all in the thick of final projects, staff scrambling to finish curricular units, special programming, prepping for summer reading, end-of-year annual activities, etc. Very soon, when I get the word from the business office, I’ll be able to begin the process of entering purchase order requests for the next fiscal year. And I am ready!

I began using Titlewave about ten years ago when I switched to a district that had automated catalogs. It has simplified the ordering process tremendously. All year long as I read children’s literature blogs and SLJ reviews I enter titles into Titlewave. This “running list” grows a little bit at a time so in May and June I’m not overwhelmed. It’s a matter of looking at my book budget and deciding which titles are essential and should be marked “first choice,” and how much money I need to set aside for other vendors. (It’s a far cry from all the little slips of paper and index cards I used to keep in a folder all year long!)

Additionally, I can use the collection development features to find books that will fill holes in my collection, books that have won awards, etc. I love that I can even perform an analysis on my order with one click before I print it and attach it to a P.O. I know exactly how many picture books, chapter books, non-fiction books, etc. are on the order so I can tweak it to achieve a more balanced collection. (The non-fiction is even broken down by Dewey class.)
I learned the hard way (when my budget was frozen one year after the winter holidays) that I need to spend the bulk of my money before I leave for the summer. Having this running list is so handy for that purpose; it also means that if there’s ever a time when I’m given a “bonus” grant or money is “found” that must be spent quickly I can generate an order with very little effort or anxiety.
I understand that there may be less expensive options out there and we all have to do what’s best for us, but I have always been pleased with the service I get from Follett. Using Titlewave and Titlewise has saved me lots of time over the years and sometimes that’s like money in the bank!

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