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Endangered Series #5: The Bailey School Kids

Popularity comes, popularity goes. As librarians we’re always balancing between what will circulate like crazy and what we need to have in the collection. And we’re not the Library of Congress – we can’t (and shouldn’t) keep everything.

An endangered series is one that appears to be waning in terms of popularity. But popularity isn’t everything. Should it stay, or should it go? Or think of it this way – if you were starting a library today, would this series make the cut? Let’s discuss.

The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones

This is a series that I’m willing to bet is still on a ton of shelves. We haven’t seen much circulation with ours lately, so it’s worth taking a look at.

The Case for Keeping:

School stories are a large segment of the early chapter book market. For good reason – they speak to the experiences of students in a way other kinds of books don’t. Bailey School Kids does a nice job of taking school stories and tweaking them, making for engaging reading.

The Case for Not:

It’s sort of a twist on the Case for Keeping: since there are so many school story books, it makes this series seem less essential. And, as is typical for books getting on in years, the covers aren’t helping matters.

Refresh?

A while back, Scholastic reissued the series with updated covers – that can definitely help draw some attention. Those updated versions are still available.

My Verdict:

We still have many of the original paperbacks, but I don’t see us holding on to them for much longer.

How are you handing this series in your library?

Previously…

Endangered Series #1: The Boxcar Children

Endangered Series #2: The Hardy Boys

Endangered Series #3: American Girl

Endangered Series #4: The Baby Sitter’s Club

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

Comments

  1. Call me crazy but I do believe that some of those covers were done by Nathan Hale long before he became such a Hazardous Tales guru. The more you know, eh?

    • Travis Jonker says:

      I believe you are correct! Maybe the best fix is to just re-title the series Nathan Hale’s Hazardous School Tales

  2. In our system, those are just quietly disappearing as they wear out. We have a little more flexibility for keeping them in a public library system, I’ll grant you that. They aren’t *so* little checked out that they are making the last active list. But as they fall apart, they won’t necessarily get replaced.

  3. I weeded many of our copies last year after reading one myself and deciding there really are so many better series for this age group out there. They definitely were well read in their day as most of our copies are tattered anyway!

  4. This series as well as the Boxcar children and Babysitter’s club are still popular at my elementary school. My school may be more old fashioned than most. I have one child (he is from Ireland) asking me to order Hardy Boys and the Bobbsey Twins.

  5. Please (please, please, please) do more of these type of posts! As a new librarian this year, I have been so excited each time a new one has come up. I’ve really enjoyed your insight but also the comments of others in helping me make choices about some of the series that have taken over areas of my library.

    Here are some that I’m currently considering: Amber Brown, Animal Ark, Arthur Chapter Books, Berenstain Bear Chapter Books, Cam Jansen, Chet Gecko, Pony Pals, Series of Unfortunate Events, Encyclopedia Brown

    In addition, I have shelves filled with Great Illustrated Classics but maybe ten have been checked out this year.

    Looking forward to more great insight from you and your readers!

    • A lot of the series on your list, I’ve weeded on a title-by-title basis. I figure if you don’t need to read a series in a certain order, it doesn’t matter if I pull a few here and there. I usually look at what has not been checked out for 2 or 3 + years as well as looking at the condition. If you can, open the books and flip through to find missing/torn pages or vandalism.