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How the N.Y. Public Library Fills Its Shelves (and Why Some Books Don’t Make the Cut)

The New York Times – Every book has to earn its spot in one of the world’s leading public library collections. Here’s what it takes: “…Every book is handpicked by a seasoned corps of 16 selectors and helpers who are the gatekeepers to the library’s circulating collection of nearly 5 million books, 1.7 million e-books and 177,000 audiobooks. These selectors have, at minimum, a master’s degree in library science and a love of reading. They scour thousands of titles so borrowers don’t have to. From inside a squat, brick building in Long Island City, Queens, they are “fighting for good books,” said Michael Santangelo, the deputy director of collection management. The selectors do not read every book they pick. There is simply not enough time. Besides, it is about more than just what they like to read when they are picking for the entire city — last year they added more than 476,000 books, 75,000 e-books and 18,000 audiobooks. Every title and author is carefully researched. The goal is to create a well-rounded collection with a wide range of voices and viewpoints. They want to give everyone an excuse to pick up a book at the 88 neighborhood branches in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island (Brooklyn and Queens have separate library systems)….”

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