08 November 2014

Axing the Biography Section

Two years ago, I took the first steps in ditching the Dewey Decimal System. The first step was splitting chapter books into genres. Then, I reorganized nonfiction. And this weekend, I started the next step in our library's shift toward genrefication by axing our biography section and moving those books into other nonfiction sections. It's something I've been considering since I heard Sherry Gick, Tiffany Whitehead, Kathy Burnette, Megan Scott, and Shannon MIller talk about it at their AASL '13 session on Ditching Dewey

I'm confident that the change will result in an increase in circulation for many of our biography titles. I don't think I've ever had a student come in just to browse the biography section with no specific subject in mind. Instead, students ask where the sports stars are or where they can find famous musicians. Sometimes students are looking for a president. By grouping famous athletes with the sports nonfiction books, famous artists with the drawing books, and books about inventors with books about inventions, students will be able to quickly (and independently) find they books they're looking for. 

The freed up space from the biography section will allow me to create a spot to highlight new arrivals. Before now, I'd show all the new books on the morning show, create a list in Destiny, but then just put the books in their spots. I knew it wasn't the best way, but I didn't have a good spot until now. I know the students will be excited to see all the new books in one spot for a few weeks. Then, I can just cover the "new" sticker with a genre sticker and put them in their spots.

The only section still alphabetized is picture books. I'd love to make that section more user-friendly, but I haven't come up with a solution yet. It won't be nearly as easy to split the picture books into genres as it was with our chapter books. For now, they'll stay in ABC order by author, but I'll keep thinking. 

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