We are always doing things within our library, school, and community to get our young people reading, learning, thinking, collaborating, and creating. One of the ways that we can encourage all of these things within the library is to take a look around and see what changes we can make.
And then I asked myself and others these questions, "Why do we need to keep our library organized according to the Dewey Decimal system? Why do we need to keep all of the biographies in alphabetical order? Why do the fairy tales need to stay in the 300's where most of the students could never remember where they were?"
Every year I taught all of the students about Dewey and the different "neighborhoods" where our books lived. Did they still ask me where the poetry books were on the shelves? Yes. Did they still ask me where their favorite book about aliens lived? Yes. I even had the shelves clearly marked and displayed books about the different Dewey neighborhoods, but still....they asked and used Destiny to locate the books themselves.
And what about the students who were not naturally drawn to nonfiction? Chances are....they didn't even venture into this part of the library. They stuck to what they knew because they found nonfiction books to hard to locate and perhaps didn't know they too could find a nonfiction book that was interesting to them.
After hearing about several librarians around the country that were moving their library collections to the "Book Store Model" or subject based system of classification, we decided this would be an awesome move for our school too. The reorganization would lead to more browsing of the nonfiction, everyone would find so many more wonderful books with the shelves clearly marked and reorganized, and "sshhhhhhhhhh"....the Dewey Decimal System would not have to be mentioned again.
This tool gave us a very clear picture of what books we should weed and which sections we needed to pay close attention to during the process.
Diana, the best library associate in the world, printed off the "Full Weeding Consideration List" and went through the entire collection. She would pull off a set of books and then check within Destiny for the circulation history of a particular title.
According to the report, it suggested we weed over 40% of our collection....and we were pretty close. Diana weeded over 2000 titles from our collection.
It was incredible seeing the overcrowded shelves go from this....
to looking like the shelves on the left hand side of this picture. With more space on the shelves, we would be able to reorganize the library the way we wanted and in a way that would best serve our little people, teachers, and community.
It was very helpful to do another collection analysis after the weeding and inventory. This gave us a clear picture of the areas we needed to develop within our collection. Once again, Mackin was so great in developing lists for "Recommended Nonfiction, Recommended Fiction, and Recommended Picture Books" specifically for our collection. It is easy to look through these lists making additions and changes as needed.
During this process, my special little friend Greta helped us too.
Greta will be in 4th grade at Van Meter and loves books, learning, and our library. When Greta's father Alex passed away last spring, the memorial money was gifted to the library. Greta, her mom Jennifer, and I spoke about ways to use the money and decided this would be the perfect project. And since Alex owned a spice store, loved cooking, books and learning we named this project...
Greta wanted to not only choose books herself, she also wanted to get her friends at Van Meter involved. She created a survey called "Spice Up The Shelves" and gave it to over 300 students and teachers at Van Meter. Greta collected the surveys and from the results created a list of authors, subjects, and titles that would be perfect to add to our library.
Greta and I created her very own Mackin account and she built "Greta's Book Project List", which would be one part of the new books we would order for our collection.
While we waited for over 500 new books from Mackin, Diana and I started thinking about the best way to reorganize the collection.
We talked to our friends DeAnn and Ann at Mackin and other teacher librarians who have done similar projects within their libraries. We also took a look at the BISAC Subject Headings List on the BISG website and started mapping out a grid for our collection.
And then we just jumped right in and started putting the books together according to the different subject or topics that they contained.
We started with all nonfiction and reference books. Once they were somewhat reorganized, Diana and I went through them together and decided on the subjects or topics and subtopics that would be placed upon the spine labels and shelves.NEW Van Meter Library Arrangement Google Doc. Please feel to use and share this list too.
We also figured out how they would be arranged on the shelves. When we were arranging them on the shelves, Diana and I thought about the high traffic areas or "hot spots" within the library. We also thought about the natural flow between several of the subjects and how they fit together. We found ourselves asking a lot of questions to one another like, "Are you sure that the books about Riddles should go there or should they be placed by the Poetry books? Should we put the books about the Environment by the Recycling books?"
The biographies were left together in the space they were before. When my friend Jerry Blumengarten (@Cybraryman) saw me post about the new arrangement yesterday on Facebook, he told me that he arranged his biographies by subjects as well...Explorers, Scientists, Artists....what a super idea! I can't wait to reorganize our biographies this way too.
For right now the shelves will be marked with these simple tags containing each subject or subtopic. The main subject areas will marked with new signage that contains words and images so our students can locate these areas easily.
We are now working on the new spine labels for our books. Each book will have a new label that will contain the word and image of the specific subtopic.
I would like the images to match those that are located within Mackin VIA. Our eBooks within VIA are organized within "Categories" and it will be helpful to have these images be similar to those that are also found on the books on the shelves within the library.
As we place these new labels on the books, Diana and I will also be updating each MARC record within Destiny to reflect the new classification system. I will post about this process too.
Thanks to my daughter Brianna and students Quinn and Erica, the library is now neatly organized with new spaces, signage, and a whole new feel for our school community to experience this fall.
We even have a new reading couch thanks to Mr. Linde and this corner will be transformed into a warm, inviting reading space next week too.
So as you can see, there are lots of big changes that have taken place within our library.
I cannot wait to see what all of the students, teachers and our school community think. It is going to be the best year yet!