Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Changes in the Library: Genrefication

When students come back in a few weeks, the media center will look a little different. I am starting a project to genre-fy the fiction collection. I had been reading about organizing the collection by subjects and getting rid of Dewey for several years, and that just didn't make since to me. It seemed like a lot of work to rearrange everything into a format that basically still looked pretty confusing from a kid's point of view. THEN... I read one blog, article, something- I really can't remember- that mentioned fiction. I heard ding, ding, ding in my head, angels sang, and light shone down from the heavens! That was where my media center could really benefit. Even though I don't particularly like book stores because if I am looking for a specific book I can never find it, it does make for great browsing; and let's face it, that's what middle school kids are doing.

After discussing it with the media committee, I opted to start small with three genres and expand this school year if the kids like it. I have a feeling they will! I decided to start with three of my most popular genres: sports, science fiction, and mystery. Other genres that I will add throughout the year are fantasy, realistic fiction, historical fiction, and adventure/action. I am on the fence about chick lit, humor, graphic novels, horror, and and animal section. As for now, though, the three sections are pulled to separate areas and then the rest of the fiction is where it normally resides. Things will have to shift as I pull more and more genres.

I'll share some pics then I get my signs up, but for now, here are the steps I took to get this project rolling:
  1. Weed your collection- You might not think you need to do this, but remember, less books on the shelves means less books for you to sort through. Also, there is no sense spending a lot of time relabeling and updating the records on a book that is falling apart.
  2. Generate lists and pull the books- I have Destiny, so this was easy. For example, with sports, I just searched sports fiction and printed that list. I also searched individual sports to make sure I didn't miss anything.
  3. Label books- My books already have a ton of information
    on the spine. I have the most popular series labeled with the number in the series at the top and then I have the standard F and the first three letters of the authors last name and the AR level and points at the bottom of the spine. Some even have the lexile number under that. Additionally, books have the see through color labels over the AR info to make it a little easier for kids to find books on their level. For example, I can tell a kid to pick out a yellow book and I know that they will be getting one in the 3.0 to 3.9 range. I actually inherited this system from the media specialist before me; but it seems to work ok, so I stuck with it. Since there is already so much on the spines and I REALLY didn't want to relabel every fiction book, I chose to put a small colored dot at the top of the spine. Each color will represent a genre. It's not important that the students know what each color represents, this is simply for shelving. I chose to use these small colored dots from Brodart with the dot and protective strip all in one. They seem to stick pretty well, so I don't think I'll have much of a problem with them falling off. That was actually another reason for starting small. If these labels don't work, I'll switch to the plain dots and just use tape.
  4. Change copy call number in catalog- This is where I was bound and determined not to spend a ton of time. Maybe I don't understand what other media specialists are doing here, but it seems to me that they are changing each book by hand one at a time. That would take forever and I honestly don't think I would have even considered taking on this project if I didn't have a way to change the call number of an entire batch of books at one time. As I said earlier, I have Destiny, so this was very easy to do. Well, once I figured it out, it was easy to do. Since I had all of my sports books pulled and labeled, it was a quick task to make a list of those books in Excel. Just open Excel and start scanning. After each barcode it will automatically bump down to the next cell. Once that list was complete, I saved it as a .csv file. In Destiny, under Catalog> Update Copies> Batch Update, you simply select "Change Call Number Prefix to", enter what you want the call number prefix to be, upload the .csv file, and click update. You could also scan the barcodes in here instead of making the list. I did this when I came across a few that I had missed or had been checked in after I pulled from the shelves. I opted to keep the F in my call number and to do that, I had to use a "-" since Destiny would not allow the call number prefix to have a space in it. This is actually what took me a little while to figure out. I had originally wanted the sports books to say "Sports F LUP", but to do that I would have had to re-enter each one by hand and that wasn't going to happen. Instead, I went with "Sports-F LUP". Another reason for this is if we don't like the set up, I can do a global update and change all copies with call number prefix of "Sports-F" back to "F". The call number prefixes for the other two sections are "SciFi-F" and "Mystery-F".
  5. Clear a space for the new section- Next up was finding a spot to put these three genres. After pulling all of those books, I did have some gaps in my shelves, so I shifted the books that were left back, making space at the beginning of the fiction section for Sports. My shelves are so crammed full that I don't have room to display books, so that is one thing I want to remedy this year. I left plenty of room in the sports section to have at least one book displayed per shelf. To fit the other to genres, I had to get rid of some things at the front of the media center in the display section. The section where I featured different genres or themes each month had to be replaced with the Sci-Fi books and the magazine shelving had to be removed to hold the Mysteries. 
 Overall, the project has been pretty easy to manage. Of course, there are no students here! I am already itching to pull the next section of books because I know it will be hard when books are being checked in and out. The possibility of missing books will be much higher and with the heavy number of classes during the first semester, it will be extremely slow going. Oh well, that's the nature of the beast. I'll just keep pulling genres and shifting the unlabeled fiction back until there is nothing left! I'll post an update when I get the next genre pulled.