Endangered Series #10: Little Bill
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.
Little Bill by Bill Cosby
Oh boy. This is the trickiest one yet. For me, at least, keeping or weeding this series went way beyond the simple “Is it circulating?” and “Are there other series that cover the same ground?” questions that I usually ask when making decisions. It brings up questions of diversity and morality.
The Case for Keeping: There are far too few series in this early reader zone that depict diverse characters. Far too few.
The Case for Not: The series is getting on in years. Also, the author has had some problems in recently (I received an A+ in understatement). But should that play into weeding decisions?
Refresh? There are no newer versions of the books in this series, but they are still widely available. Like I said, there are far too few early reader/early chapter books and series featuring diverse characters – but here are a few recent ones that jump to mind:
(Help me out here in the comments if you have additions)
My Verdict: One thing we often do to generate interest in series that have lagged is to booktalk them with students. Maybe I’ve failed as an impartial librarian, but I find it hard to get all “Rah! Rah!” about a series by this author. We continue to add books with diverse characters to our shelves, but we weeded this one due to low circulation.
What are you doing with this series at your library?
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 email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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