29 August 2013

Nonfiction, Reorganized

I got this tweet in response to my first blog post about our transition away from the Dewey Decimal System.

tweet from @librariancheryl

First, I just want to say that I love Twitter. I first started using it just for fun, but it's become a great PLN! I love connecting with other librarians to talk about all things library. Plus, I've seen so many good ideas I could borrow for my library! Can't recommend joining the Twitterverse enough. If you're not tweeting yet, you don't know what you're missing!

Here's a list, in order, of the shelves in our nonfiction section:
  • General Interest
  • Religion & Mythology 
  • Sports and Recreation   
  • Fun & Games
  • Arts & Crafts 
  • Food & Cooking
  • Holidays & Celebrations 
  • Family/Community
  • Buildings
  • Grammar
  • Foreign Language
  • Transportation 
  • People in Uniforms
  • U.S. Gov't
  • Economics
  • Travel
  • Georgia
  • African American Interest
  • History
  • Math
  • Space
  • General Nature
  • Weather
  • Seasons
  • Land Habitats
  • Farming
  • Conservation
  • Mountains, Caves, & Rocks   
  • Dinosaurs
  • Water Habitats   
  • Water Science   
  • Plants
  • Health
  • Science Experiments  
  • Inventions         
  • Simple Tools
  • Forces
  • Energy
  • Matter
  • Measurements
  • General Animals
  • Pets 
  • Insects
  • Fish & Other Sea Creatures
  • Birds
  • Reptiles & Amphibians
  • Mammals
As you can see in the pictures below, some shelves were split in half since there weren't enough books to fill the whole shelf.

The two pictures below show a closer look at our nonfiction shelves. I tried to leave an area for a front facing book on each shelf. Sometimes it was impossible, but most had room.

In the photo below, you can see the genre stickers we added to the books. I think I'll probably put a sticker on the shelf as well, to make it as easy as possible for volunteers to help me re-shelf books. I also left the Dewey stickers on the book, so if we ever decide to reverse course, it won't be a big pain in the neck.

 I also created some special sections away from our nonfiction area: Poetry, Folktales & Fairy Tales, Graphic Novels, and Español. For the Folktales & Fairy Tales section (aka 398s), I took the majority of these books out and put them in our picture book section. That was something I thought long and hard about and I'm still not 100% sure I like the decision. The remaining Folk Tales and Fairy Tales are primarily collections of multiple stories. 

27 August 2013

Goodbye, Dewey Decimal System

I first heard about libraries moving away from the Dewey Decimal System in 2008, probably through Twitter. Five years later, I've just finished our transition away from Dewey. It was a lot of work, but I'm convinced that my library is now a more kid-friendly place in which all patrons are better able to find what they're looking for.

If moving away from Dewey is something you're considering, I'd suggest doing it in chunks. It's a big job to tackle and you'll likely need a good bit of help along the way. If you're able to use volunteers for some of the work, it'll be a lot more manageable.

I started by splitting our chapter books into genre based sections. I was able to put lots of books in a genre section based on my familiarity with our collection. For others, I used Scholastic's Book Wizard and online reviews for help. The sections I created are: General Fiction, Adventure, Scary, Mystery, SciFi / Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and Funny. You might find that a different grouping of genres is better for you, but that's what this is all about - what's right for your library. My students have really enjoyed being able to browse their favorite genres and it's helped me become more familiar with my collection. I had no idea I had so many historical fiction books before this change. And it became really obvious that I needed to make adding more "funny" and "scary" books a big priority.

The next change I made was pulling all the graphic novels and grouping them together. Most of our graphic novels were in 741.5, but we had several in the 600s about health, and there were others spread out throughout our nonfiction section. This new graphic novel section quickly became one of the most popular sections in our library. 

The last job we tackled in the first year was adding stickers to the spines of our books, lots and lots of stickers. We added genre stickers to the chapter books first. Then, we added alphabet stickers to all of our picture books. This allowed for quick and easy shelving in the picture book area. Our picture books are never in perfect ABC order. If it's in the right section of letters, that's close enough for us. We added alphabet stickers to our biography collection, which operated the same way as our picture books. These sections aren't overwhelmingly big, so finding a book is still easy. Adding genre stickers to our sports books and our graphic novels wrapped up the 2012-2013 year.

shelves with signs
This summer, I started working on our nonfiction collection. It was a BIG job. Too big, really. But I did it... well, I'm in the process of doing it. We're so close! I've moved several things around within our nonfiction section and created a few special interest sections. But the biggest improvement is our signage. Each shelf is marked by a big, colorful sign. All I'm waiting on now is genre stickers. There will still be quite a few sections without stickers, but I'll tackle that after Phase 1 of Operation Stickermania is complete. Phase 1 consists of the following stickers: Marine Life, Animals (Alligator), Foreign Language, Travel, Cars, Animals, Art, Music, Science, African American, Health, Cooking, Pets, Holiday, Animals (Lion), Historical, Technology, and Finance. I ordered more than one Animals label so that I could label subcategories (Alligator for Reptiles/Amphibians, Lion for Mammals, etc.). 

Stay tuned for more!