Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stuck Between a Bookend and a Hard Place

La caverne aux livresphoto © 2007 Alexandre Duret-Lutz | more info (via: Wylio)
The past two days I've been making some changes regarding how I shelve my collection. After more serious weeding I moved all of my Reference to Nonfiction. The only books that remain as Reference are the sets of encyclopedias and a small set of dictionaries. This year I allowed Reference to be checked out, but just a few days instead of two weeks. Now that they are all in Nonfiction they will be checked out the same as the other books. This year has really been a year of observation in regards to Nonfiction. I weeded this summer, but not as much as I wanted because I was not sure what projects or requests I would get from the teachers. Now that the year is winding down I have a better idea of what I can weed further and where I need to order more. I have read about shelving them by subject instead of using Dewey and I'm thinking about this. I would have to work on this during the summer though.
Our small collection of graphic novels and Manga were cataloged as Nonfiction (741.5), but I'm moving them to Fiction and purchasing several more series. Not sure what the "correct" way is, but this will work best for my students. I have put genre labels on every fiction book and I am seriously considering shelving my fiction by genre. It might be next year though because I feel like I have moved these books around so much this year that I want to rest for a little while. I also want to label all of my series books. Some series are kind enough to put the number of the book on the spine, but others do not and it is difficult for me to remember them all.
I moved the professional books into an attached book closet at the beginning of the year, but I have to weed with a heavy hand. I have only had ONE teacher come in and check out something from these books. I do not plan on spending any money in this area anytime soon, but I obviously need to advertise this collection to my teachers.
I began my inventory yesterday while I had a little break between classes. At the advice of one of my district mentors I'm attacking one shelf at a time with my laptop and weeding, dusting and putting books in order as I go. I'm about one third of the way through Nonfiction. I have never had an assistant, but I can definitely see where an assistant would be really nice for this task. Thank goodness for my wonderful student helpers.
My library is a work in progress. I have made major changes and improvements this year, but there are still more things I would like to do.
Anyone have any inventory advice? How do you have your collection organized? How do you push the traditional methods of organization?


  1. Wow, I typed this really long reply, then blogspot ate it. I am sad :*(

    I can definitely relate to what you're dealing with. We should chat about this!

  2. When we moved our library into the new facility last spring, we moved 98% of the reference books into nonfiction and have not regretted it one moment! Like you, we have encyclopedias and dictionaries in a Ready Reference section.

    I undertook labeling books with series numbers this fall and the students have been very appreciative of it. With all the new series out now, labeling them in some fashion is almost a necessity.

    I have thought about grouping fiction by genre, but because many books fit into more than one genre, I haven't attempted it yet. Where would you place a fantasy that includes mystery, romance, and adventure?