Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our Library After The First Week Of Being Dewey Free

As you heard from listening to Maddy, making a few changes in our library over the summer has made quite the difference for her and all of her friends at Van Meter.

We have now had over a week back at school and time spent in the Van Meter Elementary Library.  The students have been learning about the new organization of the nonfiction and life without Dewey. Remember We Spiced Up The Shelves....And Ditched The was now time to observe the change it would bring.

I have loved every minute of watching the excitement as our students go to the shelves to find books matching their interests and discovering subjects and books they never even knew we had.
I have enjoyed seeing all of the nonfiction books opened around the library....And the students sharing things from inside the pages with their friends.  
But here is where we can really see that the new organization of our library has made a difference.  

When I went into "Reports" within Destiny, I was able to run reports for each day during the first week of classes last year and compared them to this years first week.  

The report above is from the first day of school in 2011.  There were 128 books checked out, but none of these books were out of the Dewey Decimal neighborhoods.  A lot of the students were from younger grades....first and second grade, and fifth grade.  In the past, our kindergarten and first grade students didn't check out nonfiction right away...we always did a few activities to introduce the different neighborhoods.  Even then, I found them drawn to the "Everybody" or picture books, books they were familiar with, that they knew they would like to read.  Before the weeding and reorganization of our collection, the nonfiction shelves were perhaps a little too overwhelming.  Not just to the younger students, but to all of our students and teachers.  

Another observation I have made over the years is that the students who check out nonfiction always go to the same Dewey Decimal neighborhood.  For example, the students who like checking out War books go immediately to that section in the 900's.  The ones who love books about Aliens to the 000's.  They didn't seem to venture into the other neighborhoods unless they were doing research for a project.  

This year I introduced nonfiction the very first day to the first graders and to the kindergarden students on their second visit to the library.  By showing them the different sections and how the subjects were clearly marked on the shelves, they were able to understand how it was organized right away.  The colored dots on the spine labels also made a huge difference.  I cannot wait to add the subject (with the word and an image of that subject) labels to the top of the books too.  This will be really helpful to them as well.  
77 nonfiction books were checked out on the first day of school this year!  I saw kindergarten, second and fourth grade on that day.  I was so excited to see those numbers!  And I was also excited to hear comments like, "I had no idea we have so many books about the Titanic!", "I got a book about Oceans and one about Wetlands", and "Mrs. Miller, I found a book about speaking Spanish and sign language today."  

And the totals for the first week of school was also a clear sign that this move was for the best. 

In 2011, there were 594 books checked out during the first week and 803 books were checked out this year.  This was awesome to see!  The students were able to see what was on the shelves now so much better and wanted to check out more and more books each time they came to visit the library.  
Another reason this reorganization is so exciting for all of us at Van Meter is our "Spice Up The Shelves" project (You can read about it in our Smore "Van Meter Library Monthly" newsletter).  
Greta and all of her friends have been so excited to read and check out all of the new nonfiction books that we are putting in our library.  Over the next two weeks we will be adding 800 new books...I can't wait to see what a difference this will make too.
Our students are having a great time finding the brand new books on the shelves to take home and read. 
The next step is getting our "Spice Up The Shelves" Funds4Books campaign started.  With the help of Mackin, we will create an exciting Funds4Books campaign that will raise money to bring even more wonderful books to the shelves and into the hands of our young people at Van Meter.

I can't wait to really start looking into individual check-outs for the students and grade levels.

By ditching the Dewey and adopting the book-store model of classification within our library, we are going to bring so much more to our students within the library this year.


  1. Can you print a copy of the newsletter from smore?

    1. Hi Kelli,

      You can print it the way it looks online, but not as just a newsletter without all the other things. I need to suggest that to Smore. :)


  2. Thanks what other templates have you used? I am looking for something to print. I just started blogging and am so happy to have found your blog!

    1. I was using Pages on my Mac for the newsletter for the last four years. I love their templates as well.

      I love your new blog...Thank you for sharing. :)

  3. Uh I dont have a Mac! Not sure if I can use their templates on a PC.

  4. Don't think so. :) There might be a few ideas in this Diigo List of Online Newspapers/Newsletters

    You may be able to print some of those off like you would like to do.

  5. Shannon - your stats should convince many to do the "ditch". Thanks for sharing the proof. And good luck with your fundraiser!!Judy

    1. Hi Judy,

      Thank you. :) I can't wait to track this through the year and see the results.

      Hope your year is off to a wonderful start, Shannon