Reshelving Project: Almost There and Already Awesome!


Team Ditch Dewey!

Hooray! I’m catching my breathe and finally getting the chance to write the follow up to my previous post entitled Welcome Back and What is Going on in the Library?!

If I knew how much work all this would be, I’m not sure I would have ever taken it on. With that being said, I’m ecstatic  about my own naivete! We’ve already witnessed the positive results of this project, and we’re still far from finished. We started fifth grade orientations this week, (will write a follow up post on particulars), and I used the comparison of cleaning out your garage with students; it gets messier before it gets better!

Nevertheless every student walked out with at least one nonfiction  and one fiction book without a hitch, and most importantly, they’re excited about reading the books they chose!

Now for the how.  We prefaced every decision we made with these thoughts,

“Will this shelving decision help our students easily find the books they’re looking for? Will this shelving decision help our students find new interests and foster understandings, through books that they never would have been attracted to in a more traditional shelving scenario?”

As described in the previous post, to start this project we massively weeded our collection. This was long overdue and in my humble opinion, it was not worth re-shelving books that no one is interested in, aren’t appropriate for our students or teachers, are not up to date and are clogging up our shelves.

Next, we decided on a shelving scenario that would make the most sense for our students  and our current and planned collection. This was not easy! Because we had just weeded the entire collection, we we’re a bit more aware of what we had, which was a good thing. Even though we made a lot of inevitable mistakes and continuously needed to change our plans. We did stick with our decision to keep fiction separated from non-fiction. We plan to shelve fiction by genre, however there will be time consuming research and decision making involved in this process. In the mean time, we decided to keep the books on the shelves alphabetically by author until most of our fiction collection is labeled by genre. In addition we’re not sure about what primary genres will work out best for our collection and student needs. We decided to use old genre stickers in the mean time but need to reevaluate books already labeled since we found many inaccuracies. For example, Winn Dixie was labeled animal book because there happens to be a dog in the story, however it’s not truly the essence of the story. See what I mean about research and decision making! Cheryl Reed, the awesome substitute that I negotiated to get to assist in this project, found that Amazon was a good source for genre labeling unfamiliar books. Scroll down to the left hand bottom of the book’s page to where it reads Look for Similar Items by Category. If you’ve found a better way to label an unfamiliar book’s genre,  please let me know by adding a comment to this post!

We decided on these  nonfiction shelving topics and subtopics after much trial and error.  It should be noted that part of our decision making rested on our current space: how many shelves we would designate for nonfiction books and trying to make each set or sets of shelves a different main topic. We also decided to keep things in alphabetical order, simply because it’s an ordering system which we are all familiar with. We did fudge some of this however. For example, we liked the cross over between “Ourselves” and community so we named community “Our Community”. We lucked out on many topics too. For example, “US Then and Now” luckily just happens to come just before “World Then and Now”, which keeps history together. In addition, we decided to disperse biographies within the topics where they best belonged. For example: a book on Monet was placed in the Art section.

In addition, mainly due to our shelving scenario, which by the way, cannot be changed because the current flooring does not lie under the shelves, we added an area for special collections and highlights. Our special collections and highlighted books include:

Inspirational True Stories, The Titanic, Holocaust Stories, Orca Currents, Orca Sports, Graphic Novels, Author Bios, Hunger Games Book A-likes, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book-A-Likes, Mummies and highlighted Series.

We kept our primary category signs clean and simple for now, by mounting card stock on pre-cut 11″ by 14″ foam core bought at Staples. We planned on buying shelf stoppers from Demco to denote subcategories, but in order to save money, we decided to use the shelf stoppers we already have, also giving us an opportunity to recycle some of our weeded books. I included the appropriate call number on the bottom of the shelf stopper signage in order to assist in finding and shelving books. See pics below:

Shelf Shot










Sign Close Up












Signs and more










Back Wall













Next Steps:

We need to update our nonfiction books’ call numbers and spine labels according to classification, by scanning the bar label in Destiny, changing the call number accordingly and  adding  copy to a Clean Up Copy Category, which we will use to print new spine labels. In addition, we’ll need to inventory our entire collection, since we decided this was a better option than deleting the records of weeded books.

Back to School Night is tomorrow night; hopefully these changes will make as much sense to parents as it does to their kids!

Welcome Back and What’s Going on in the Library?!

Hi everyone and welcome back! Although I do love summer and the opportunity to “take it easy” with friends and family, I honestly do look forward to coming back to school. I am very lucky to have found a job that I truly enjoy.

Now, about the library. Well, if you’ve been in to visit during the first couple of days of school you’d know that it’s a bit of a mess right now! Although I really wanted everything to be up and running when we all came back, we took on a project that needed to be taken on! We are “ditching dewey” and re-shelving our books in a more kid friendly and “easy to find what you’re looking for” manor! I’m not the first school librarian to try this; here are some teacher-librarians’ feet I’m following: Tamara Cox, Shannon Miller, Kristie Miller, The Librarians at Ethical Culture

The first step to this process is to weed books that are no longer current, appealing, reliable or relevant. In all honesty we’ve been doing this for the past two years, but have failed to be as aggressive as needed. In a nutshell, Lounsberry’s library still has too many old and out of date books! We’re discarding a lot of books, and yes it’s a bit scary, but it’s a necessity! Weeding has actually been a cleansing experience for me; I don’t think I truly realized how much our overabundance of old books has been hanging over my head.

Our next step, which we should be ready to start on Tuesday, is to re-shelve books in a way that makes sense for our students. During the process of weeding, we’ve become even more cognizant of the inefficiencies of the dewey decimal system, and continue to evaluate our collection in order to regroup and shelve books effectively.  The next steps include inventorying our collection, (which we think is a better idea than deleting discards), changing call numbers, according to categories, in our circulation system and applying new spine labels. Oh my, and this is just nonfiction. We still plan to shelve fiction according to genre, but in all honesty that may take a while!










As you can see this is a big undertaking. So…if you’d like to help out, come on down to the library. Being part of the process is a good thing and certainly a way to take ownership in what we hope you consider “your” library!

Mrs Schiano