Developing a public library collection is part art, part science and sometimes just plain luck. I don’t know how many authors I learn about just by chatting with patrons.

Take, for example, romantic suspense writer Kendra Elliot from the Bend area. The library added three of her series to the collection since August, 11 books in all, and they have checked out a total of 73 times. That’s awesome.

Serendipity is great, and as I wait for a patron to introduce me to the library’s next great series, I rely on nationally published book reviews, professional journals and patron use of the current collection to build a popular selection of materials.

One helpful resource is; click on Panorama Picks. The site compiles a quarterly list of the most popular newer adult fiction, adult nonfiction and young adult books checked out in public libraries by region. Oregon native Karl Marlantes’ “Deep River” led the latest Pacific Northwest adult fiction list; it has checked out nine times since being added to the Roseburg Public Library collection in August.

The Pacific Northwest’s most popular adult nonfiction title was “The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook” by Nisha Vora, which recently was added to our collection. Not surprisingly, the My Hero Academia manga books were the most popular for young adults. As a whole, manga, which are Japanese-style graphic novels, currently are far and away local teens’ favorite type of book.

When it comes to adult fiction, Roseburg patrons gravitate toward big-name authors such as David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, John Grisham and James Patterson. In addition, books adapted to the screen, most recently “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng, are popular.

The novels most checked out by Roseburg patrons since the library opened are Grisham’s “The Reckoning,” which has 93 checkouts on five copies, and “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, which has 90 checkouts on six copies. The nonfiction book most checked out is “Educated,” a memoir by Tara Westover, with 48 checkouts on four copies.

I typically purchase two regular print copies and one large print copy of the most popular books for adults and rely on donations to expand the inventory. Once a book’s popularity fades, the library retains one or two copies.

The library’s most popular junior fiction books are the Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce, Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty series and Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants books. High-circulating picture books include the “Llama Llama” series by Anna Dewdney and anything by Eric Carle. They are in such demand we have duplicate copies of many of their works.

Patrons are welcome to recommend authors or submit purchase requests when they log into their library account at; click on My Account then Reserves/Requests. I can’t wait to add a new author to the collection.

Kris Wiley is the director of the Roseburg Public Library.

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