100 Scope Notes
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Endangered Series #12: Arthur

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.

Arthur (Series) by Marc Brown

Beginning in 1978, this series about an anthropomorphic aardvark continues to this day.

The Case for Keeping: Arthur must be doing something right. It’s a character that has stuck around for decades now, spawning chapter books, early readers, and spin-off series. Also, how will kids understand this meme without the books?

The Case for Not: It seems like the overall love for the series has diminished, as evidenced by our large Arthur collection that doesn’t circulate much.

Refresh? If you’re looking to get something more current, there are new Arthur books being released all the time. Here are three recent examples:

My Verdict: We’re thinning the herd at my school – removing duplicates, paperbacks, and some of the titles that haven’t circulated at all.

What are you doing with this series at your library?


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

Endangered Series #5: The Bailey School Kids

Endangered Series #6: Nate the Great

Endangered Series #7: Cam Jansen

Endangered Series #8: The Kids of the Polk Street School

Endangered Series #9: Pony Pals

Endangered Series #10: Little Bill

Endagered Series #11: Animal Ark

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. Linda Hillard says

    I was a parent volunteer at a elementary school. One of the books I would recommend was Morris the Moose. I loved it as a kid and it was one of the easy readers that wasn’t fought over . The kids loved it but we only had a couple of books from the series. The school had a large number of ESL readers and it was hard to find books for them at their reading level.