The Rulers of Acquisition

Greene County Public Library gets about 4,000 – 6,000 new books, movies, and other items each month. They arrive in boxes from local booksellers, as well as from Baker & Taylor, a large distributor that’s set up to efficiently get the most popular books to the library quickly. The very first people to see them are Sheryl and Tina, the library’s acquisitions staff.

Sheryl and Tina unpack the boxes, sort each item by the library it’s going to, and move them on to the cataloging staff. The Acquisitions Clerks are also responsible for processing invoices so the library can pay for the books we buy.

Their careful eyes are an important line of defense against waste for the library, because shipments aren’t always right. Sheryl and Tina have seen and solved cases when the library has received packages with books missing, parcels that were addressed to other libraries, or completely empty boxes. One time, they even fixed an invoice that was off by more than $22,000.

The job also has perks that go beyond knowing they’re helping make sure the library gets the right books at the right price, like building relationships. “I enjoy talking to the local vendors,” Sheryl says. “When I started 15 years ago, we had just one, but that’s expanded over time.”

And, of course, something you might expect from working in a library. “The best part is that I get to see all the new books!” Tina adds.