Getting Best Value When Book Budgets Are Squeezed

With school budgets set to become tighter than ever, spending on books for school libraries, book corners and classrooms is likely to be reduced and challenged. Value for money and educational impact will need to be demonstrated every step of the way.

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Our personal shopper service is all about getting best value.

With school budgets set to become tighter than ever, spending on books for school libraries, book corners and classrooms is likely to be reduced and challenged. Value for money and educational impact will need to be demonstrated every step of the way.

Identifying the Challenges Around Time and Expertise

Navigating the crowded book supplier space can be confusing, making well informed buying and resourcing decisions tricky.

The cheapest book packs and biggest discounts stand out, but these may not always give best value if they aren’t a good fit to your school’s individual needs. And in the hectic school day where all staff are busy, there can be little or no time for browsing publisher catalogues and even less time to read, review and assess the wide range of titles available to make sure they’re right for your pupils.

This is why our personal shopper book buying service really ticks the box. Using trusted experts with a wide knowledge of children’s books means you can be certain that you are buying the best of what is available to address your school’s specific requirements and plans.

So, what do we do at Juniper Education Resources Service (ERS) that’s different?

Rather than an online catalogue that can take time to browse and navigate, or pre-selected collections where you may not know exactly what books you will get; we have expert school librarians on hand to offer one-to-one support and advice and do all the hard work for you. We act as your personal shoppers, selecting quality, age-appropriate books to meet your individual requirements.

How it Works!

The process starts with a conversation, at which point we will find out what it is you would like to achieve. This may include:

  • A particular group of readers. Adding accessible, ‘real’ books, to engage Year 2 readers moving beyond scheme titles, for example. Or challenging more able Year 6 pupils with titles that are stretching in terms of content and vocabulary but still age appropriate.
  • Filling an identified resource gap. For example, to support an aspect of your curriculum with both fiction and non-fiction or adding Accelerated Reader titles for upper KS2 children reading at a low level.
  • A more general stock update. This might be to make an existing book collection more diverse and inclusive.

For some schools, this conversation follows on from an edit and audit of their stock – something we’d recommend ahead of any significant book purchases.

Editing and assessing your current stock on a regular basis will ensure you get best value from what you already have in stock. It also means you can clearly see what you are missing or need to improve and will maximise the impact of your budget no matter how small. If we’ve been asked to carry out an edit, we use our observations to make recommendations as part of our initial personal shopper conversation.

Our librarians then use their specialist knowledge, formed from wide reading and practical school-based experience, to create a costed book list of titles we know are in print and that fit your criteria. We can make recommendations, give you options and work with you at any time to refine your list.

Why Use Our Librarian-Based Shopper Service?

With our school library service background, and our position within Juniper Education which is wholly focussed on providing solutions to the education market, we offer a unique and very focussed service:

  • We are current education library practitioners regularly working on site in primary school settings to edit, audit and advise on collection development in libraries and book corners.
  • We have significant experience of curating our own very large collection which provides curriculum and reading for pleasure titles to primary schools in Essex, Hertfordshire, and Suffolk.
  • We have in depth curriculum knowledge developed through our work as a school library service.
  • We are all avid readers!
  • We work alongside teams of education professionals and we’re part of a company focussed on improving educational outcomes.

And as we have the expertise, we can work with any member of school staff from an English lead tasked with buying books but with no additional time to do so, to school finance officers looking for a trusted supplier who will always ensure best use of book budgets.

And The Outcome?

So, what’s the impact of this personalised service on your stock and budget?

  • You end up with a set of books that matches your needs exactly.
  • Your book stock becomes more targeted especially when purchasing in this way is paired with a comprehensive edit and audit of your current stock – check School Library Services (sla.org.uk) or visit SLS-UK to find a local service that can help.
  • Costly errors, such as inappropriate content aimed at older children or pre- selected packs containing books that won’t get used are eliminated.
  • You will be introduced to a wider and more diverse range of titles than you may otherwise be aware of.

You develop an ongoing relationship with a trusted supplier.

More About Juniper Education Resources Service (ERS)

Formerly Essex School Library Service and a local authority traded service, ERS is now one of the many services and products provided by Juniper Education.

As well as a personal shopper service, ERS lends books and artefacts helping schools to deliver the curriculum effectively, support wider more diverse reading and develop a learner-centred community. The offer also supports all aspects of primary school library development and maintenance.

Contact Sally to find out more.

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