100 Scope Notes
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Endangered Series #4: The Baby-Sitter’s Club

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 Baby-Sitter’s Club (original series) by Ann M. Martin

The afterglow of popularity can last a really long time, and I think this is another case of a series that a ton of libraries have on their shelves at this very moment.

The Case for Keeping:

It’s a series that was a hit because it worked. Readers saw themselves in the characters and the situations were well-suited to the audience.

The Case for Not:

While those who grew up on the series have been experiencing serious nostalgia for this original series, kids have not. The look is dated, and that can spell trouble.


In 2010, the first few books in the series we re-released with new covers, along with a new prequel (The Summer Before) under the banner of The Baby-Sitter’s Club: New Generation.

Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Sisters) illustrated the graphic novel versions of the first four Baby-Sitter’s Club books for Graphix.

Now I see they will be re-releasing all of those in full color starting on April 28, 2015. Here’s the new cover for the first one:

My Verdict:

We weeded all paperbacks a couple years ago, and have not updated to the editions with the new covers. We will be adding the color graphic novels as they are released.

How are you handing this series in your library?


Endangered Series #1: The Boxcar Children

Endangered Series #2: The Hardy Boys

Endangered Series #3: American Girl

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.


  1. You make perfect sense here… I feel the same about “A Series of Unfortunate Events”… “Nancy Drew”… “Hardy Boys”…. wow, there are so many…thanks for sharing your strategies and I hope to try harder to follow them.

  2. In my previous library (that I left a couple years ago), the new editions and graphic novels sparked a resurgence of interest in the series. I pretty much had to keep every copy I could unless pages had actually fallen out. However, at my current library the BSC has stayed under the radar so I’ve kept far fewer copies.

  3. Chiming in here as a mom and reading specialist- not a librarian. I often dream of being a librarian but this is a time when I’m glad I’m not! I would be terrible at making these types of decisions. My eleven year old is a voracious reader and she comes back to the BSC again and again when she is looking for ‘comfort’ reading. I can’t even begin to count the number of times she has re-read many, many of these books. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about culling our collection- although my sagging bookcases might disagree. As a librarian, I would worry that there is one reader, like my daughter, who would miss these books if they went away. Too many books, too little time and space!

  4. I love this theme, Travis! I also appreciate hearing your method.

    My first step with these older series is to put them in the closet to see if there is any call for them. If they are there for six months, they go. I still have Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew – but far fewer of them – for the students that often launch their reading lives for this series. I think I will remove most of my American Girl, except for the first book in each series and the history mysteries. The same with the Series of Unfortunate events – they just don’t move anymore. Most the the Boxcar Children and Babysitters clubs were in such poor shape that they went last spring. Again, I have kept about three in each series to provide a bridge to the series for readers. Raina’s book has never been on the shelf as it is always being read, but it has not spurred interest in reading the traditional chapter books in that series. I hope this makes sense.

    • Jennifer that’s so funny because in my library I have wait lists for Series of Unfortunate Events! Their shelf is empty! And The Boxcar Children had a resurgence when 4 teachers decided to read one of them to their classes…empty shelf :)

  5. Our library didn’t have them when I started and I had a hard time finding ‘wholesome’ books to recommend to my 4th+ girls… Thanks to an awesome parent, I have about 25 of them and the girls love them! Not all the girls of course, but those that are looking for ‘girly’ type books that are completely innocent. These are my girls who have outgrown Animal Ark & Puppy place and are reading American Girl books or Ramona. Not all 5th graders are ready for Twilight & Hunger Games or The Clique like their peers. :)

  6. Esther Keller says

    I weeded this series when I first started in my school library. I did update the new covers and they go out moderately well. It might no survive another major weed though.
    The Graphix adapations goes out like mad! And I will definitely be adding the full color version. The kids can’t get enough of Telgemeier’s work.

  7. I would consider all the standard factors when deciding whether to weed: condition on books? how much are they in fact circulating? etc. If there is space on your library’s shelves, I’d hold onto them until after Raina’s graphic novels are re-released! My kids love Raina’s graphic novels, and their excitement carried over into being enthusiastic about the original series. It doesn’t seem like a stretch for Raina’s books to get other kids excited about the original series as well.

  8. Some simple marketing might be required for kids to make the connection – a display with Raina’s books and the originals next to eachother. Then, if they don’t circulate, consider weeding.

  9. I wish they would make of Raina’s series…the girls in my classes love them and are always sad that there are only 4!

  10. Yeah, we weeded these and my inner 8-year-old cried a lot. We do now get requests for the graphic novels (thank goodness they are re-releasing them!!), but I think that’s because Raina is so super popular with our kids. We don’t get a lot of interest in the original series.

  11. Even before Raina’s other graphic novels became popular, these were flying off the shelves of the MC at my previous school. Except for the random student every few years, there was not been much interest in the older series which had been weeded. Seemed I could always find a few copies to fulfill these requests in the box of Book Swap books. Most recently, I learned that my 8 year-old niece has become a fan of the originals.

  12. Jacqueline says

    The few copies I do have are circulating like crazy lately! Both the older editions and the graphic novels. I have a group of 3rd grade girls who love them. Send them over if you don’t want them! ;-)

  13. I am a brand-new librarian at a school where my predecessor had worked for 30+ years, she didn’t believe in weeding the fiction, and 44.8 percent of the collection hasn’t circulated more than 5 times total in the last 5 years. Still, in my first two weeks on the job, I’ve had kids asking for the American Girl Series AND the Babysitter Club. And just yesterday, a student brought over book 3 of Unfortunate Events and wanted to know if I’d read any of the titles in this favorite series of hers.

    Of all the old series cluttering my shelves, it’s the Boxcar Children and Wayside School and Bailey School Kids that are causing me the most immediate grief. They’re in terrible condition (mostly yellowed paperbacks with loose/falling-out pages or early-1980s hard cover editions) and haven’t circulated at all, so I know I should weed them, but I live in fear that the minute I do it, a teacher will read one of the early books in class and spark demand for a series I don’t have anymore.

  14. jamie prince says

    Hi, I am trying to weed in our library, and also deciding whether to keep this series – what really strikes me is that they are written for 7th grade? Really? I see that one respondent says they are popular with 3rd graders…

  15. The graphic novels are hugely popular in the library and my students are always begging me for more! I hope Reina will illustrated more books in the series.