By Amy Cheney
- Discard ALL old, funky, boring, non-kid-friendly books in the facility. Old, funky, irrelevant books are a turn-off. It is better to have no books at all than old and funky ones. This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s the first thing you need to do.
- Talk with your administration about the importance of free and independent reading, and gain their support for creating a library of shared books.
- Reach out to your local public library and partner with them on selecting and obtaining books, programming, librarian visits, grant writing, and book talking.
- Partner with local bookstores: create a wish list for donors to buy books for your library. Bring in appropriate authors who visit bookstores.
- Partner with local organizations to hold book drives on specific titles you want. I partnered with the Girl Scouts for specific book requests and got all the Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid, James Patterson Maximum Ride, Rick Riordan, Goosebumps and many other basic kid-friendly items on the shelves.
- Connect with Library Services for Youth in Custody (LSYC) and find out what people are doing across the country in providing library services.
- Connect with Yalsa-lockdown http://lists.ala.org/wws/info/yalsa-lockdown for questions about books and other issues.
- Provide an abundance of books that kids can check out and bring back when they are done.
- Create a stress-free honor system for lending books and materials.
- Hire a consultant to assist you with selection development policies, purchasing books for 40% off, setting up your program and finding the best book choices for your facility.