Last year, around this time, my Circulation/Technical Services Manager approached me about something she had recently learned about a meeting — organizing picture book by subjects. She wanted to know my thoughts on it. I told her that it seemed like a good idea to me and that I knew a few neighboring libraries had done it to at least part of their collection. I promised to do my research and that once our big non-fiction project had been completed (re-labeling, weeding, and re-cataloging almost every book), I would be game to start on the picture books.
Fast forward to ALA Annual in June and I was unbelievably inspired by the presentation, “I Want a Truck Book!” (Link to materials are all located here on ALA Connect.) That presentation was worth the conference registration all by itself. When Gretchen spoke about the neighborhoods they had created, that was exactly what my library needed. And especially as the only children’s librarian, it was what I needed — a proven way to make this re-organization work when I’d be the only one making decisions.
When Amy posted at The Show Me Librarian in August about her kidlit re-organization, my excitement only grew. Amy had given me the kid-friendly name I was looking for to call our collection — Picture Book City!
Finally, in November our non-fiction project was done and I began.We started with approximately 6,000 picture books, both fiction and non-fiction. It was my goal to get rid of our “blue dots” (non-fiction) and “green dots” (fiction) and integrate both into Picture Book City. I wanted to do this because I felt like our community didn’t understand what our easy non-fiction was. Also, the whole point of this project is to give the kids ALL the dinosaur books at once — I didn’t want to run back and forth between two sections.
I started with non-fiction, weeding as I went and also replacing a lot of materials. Reading each book forced me to evaluate whether or not the material was current and relevant anymore. I purchased some new materials about community helpers, the new “my plate,” and updated many more volumes.While going through the blue dots, I began to realize that I wanted a bit more organization in my neighborhoods. A co-worker from the Adult Services department came up with the idea of “streets” in our neighborhoods. I began to develop some streets.
For example, in our “Nature” neighborhood, we have animals separated by where they live: “Nature / Farm”, “Nature / Forest,” “Nature / Ocean,” “Nature / Pets,” “Nature / Zoo.” I hadn’t planned on doing this originally but incorporating the non-fiction made it almost necessary for patrons to find materials. Already, I am receiving tons of great feedback from parents. When I finish this project, I will post a full list of our streets.
This has been quite a process and I’m very happy to share my journey — both satisfaction and frustration — as I go along. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I will do my best to address them in a future post! As I’m going alone with the process, I’m hoping to have everything done by the time I have to do school visits for summer reading. I am blessed to have help from Tech Services to change the call numbers in the catalog and some support staff who have agreed to peel our old labels off.
Next week…how we chose to label and re-catalog our books and why!