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Endangered Series #21: Dear Dumb Diary

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.

Dear Dumb Diary (Series) by Jim Benton

When we think of diary books, there’s a lot of talk about Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries, but this series (when began in 2004) predates them all. It follows the adventures of middle schooler Jamie Kelly.

The Case for Keeping: It’s of this millennium. The humor and tone still feel contemporary.

The Case for Not: There are a few series, including the aforementioned Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries, that are in the same vein and have eclipsed this series in terms of popularity.

Refresh? Since it’s relatively new, there hasn’t been a series refresh, but man could I see this book getting new life with color illustrations and an updated look.

My Verdict: Keeping them on the shelf. This is the perfect candidate for booktalking (“Hey, if you like Wimpy Kid or Dork Diaries, check this out.”) A little push could really help this series among students.

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

Endangered Series #12: Arthur

Endangered Series #13: The English Roses

Endangered Series #14: Marvin Redpost

Endangered Series #15: Little Critter

Endangered Series #16: Spiderwick Chronicles

Endangered Series #17: Junie B. Jones

Endangered Series #18: Magic School Bus

Endangered Series #19: Dear America

Endangered Series #20: Dear Dumb Diary

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.