How do you select the books for the media center?
We never order lists of books that have been prepared by others; instead we look at each book title individually to decide which to order. We read professional journals that include reviews and age recommendations and use these resources to guide our decisions. It's not possible to read every book in here (although it would be great to have the time for that!) so we rely on these professional reviews and mostly order books that have received "starred" reviews.
We also take a lot of student suggestions. We consider every student request and, as long as it adheres to our age and quality guidelines, we usually can order these requested books.
What criteria do you use to decide if a book should be in the media center?
We serve all 1700+ students at MPMS and our books reflect that. Our students range in age, reading ability, maturity level, and interests. The books we have offer something for everyone. That being said, not every book in the media center is the right book, right now, for every student. We teach kids to choose literature for themselves, and help them if they need it.
If there are 30 students waiting to read The Sea of Monsters, how many copies do your order*?
Ok, no one has ever actually asked that question but it's a hard one! We teeter between giving students what they want (especially if the book is hugely popular) and not over-buying books that won't be so popular in the future. We also make sure we have the best-written books (classics and award winners), books that fit with our students' reading interests (lots of science fiction here at MP, not so much historical fiction), and also buy widely diverse books so all students can "see" themselves in characters and stories.
*Once 6th graders all read The Lightning Thief in language arts class, there actually were at least 30 kids waiting to read The Sea of Monsters. Thanks to Mrs. Shelton's donation of several copies and the purchase of a few more, everyone who had their names on the reserve list have been able to find out what happened to Percy Jackson and were able to move on to The Titan's Curse.