Monday, April 4, 2011

Organizing and Maintaining the Collection

In part, the last lesson of this course considered the physical layout of the library collection as an organizational mechanism. How do our libraries assist or impede access to the resources?

I wish in some ways I had taken this course three years ago when I was faced with re-designing our library during a modest renovation project.  I am also encourage by what I have learned in this course in that I think I got a lot of things right as well.

I was lucky enough to be involved with some remodelling of my library about three years ago. Our limited library footprint and budget didn't allow for a lot but we did lower the top of the shelving from a little over six feet to a little under five feet. I would love to have gone lower but we would have eliminated too much shelf space for our collection (even after culling it severely). Far from ideal for a K to 5 library but a little bit of progress. A further aid to my young patrons was putting all paperback easy fiction into alphabeticized plastic totes. This allows for easier browsing of the front covers simply flipping through the books. This also allowed moving the books from the top shelves and putting them on library tables during book exchanges to allow young patrons easy access.

I also was able to reconfigure the shelving layout to make fairly obvious physical divisions between the easy fiction, fiction and nonfiction sections of the library. This was very helpful for my K and 1 students who often wandered into the fiction section.

We have really no free wall space for bulletin boards or displays. To help with displays we had display racks built around the entire perimeter of the library circulation desk and had corner display units built in the corners wherever two library stacks met (this is usually wasted space).

What my library renovation did not include was money for signage. It is three years later and I have still to address the issue. Assignment 3 gave me the impetus to make a plan. The biggest part of it is for detailed shelf markers in the nonfiction section to help my younger non OPAC using patrons to productively browse the shelves. The shelf markers not only provide a dewey number but also a picture and a one or two word description of the section. They are also colour coded to match posters for each section. This allows me to create at least 48 labeled divisions in my nonficition section that can even assist pre readers in locating an interesting nonfiction book. Now all I need is the money to implement the plan.


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