There are always reasons why I feel like a bad librarian, but here's one I would really like to hear input on:
Do students really care about literary merit of books?
When my children were young, I had a friend who fervently disliked Little Golden Books, claiming they had no "literary merit". Our favorite books? The Color Kittens, and just about any other Little Golden Book. So I'm a bad mother, too!
This came up in the Cybils discussion, and while it's always a pleasure to see students enjoying books that are well written, it's something that they never seem to ask for, nor do they care when that is offered as a selling point. (I use this particularly to pitch The Phantom Tollbooth, which is brilliantly written.)
I think I can tell if a book has literary merit or not, and certainly I try to find the best written books that will interest my students. But in the end, I will choose to have two copies of Vampire Rising at the expense of having a copy of Moon Over Manifest. Those two copies have had to be glued back together; Heart of a Samurai has been checked out three times despite my frequent pleas to read it.
How do others balance the guilt? And the library collection? (Other than getting more sleep?)
The Cybils middle grade fiction committee did a great job navigating the difficult terrain of this decision. Remember that the shortlists come out on New Year's Day!