Reading Your Collection

Lately I’ve been doing some thinking about reading. Specifically, about the time I spend reading and what I choose to read. I, like all of you, spend a lot of my free time reading. And not just books: zines, blogs, and magazines, too. Finding time for all of the things I want to read sometimes seems impossible. Being in charge of collection development for my library’s YA collection makes this even harder. How much time should I be devoting to reading the YA books on my library’s shelves? I am part of the Adult Services Department and so I need to be reading adult books as well. How do I find a balance between the two? Also, what about the books I want to have in my collection, but that I don’t necessarily want to read? I’m not a fan of fantasy or science fiction, but patrons ask for recommendations in these genres, so I need to know what to offer them. Or what about the super popular books that everyone is talking about, but that I have no interest in? L.A. Candy is a lighter read than what I’d choose to voluntarily read, but it’s so popular that I feel like I should read it to get my own take on it, even though I don’t really want to. Sometimes I feel torn, and my to-read pile next to my bed grows to an unrealistic height.

So what do I do? Well, a couple of things. I read a pretty equal mix of adult and teen books. I sometimes choose books that fall outside of the realistic fiction genre for my teen book club so that I am forced to read them. I spend some time looking through our new books to familiarize myself with them so that even though I won’t read all of them, at least I know they are there and what they are about. So I’m curious about you. How much of your collection do you actually read? Do you skim some books just to get a quick feel for them and their audience? And should I read Sweet Little Lies?