Summer ended quickly, as it does, and we librarians found ourselves looking down the tracks at our final 3 weeks before our doors would again be open, and the fireplace would be roaring its virtual fire...and the library looked a bit like this....
Problematic, considering that books in a library are usually on shelves and in some sort of order (Dewey what?). Given this messy state, we sent an all call out for some help, and found a small but very dedicated crew that helped make the disaster above a genrefied, organized, and all-patron-friendly environment. Genrefied? Yeah, we will explain that in a moment. First, check out our shenanigans:
This was truly an event. Books were everywhere, and each day we came with grand plans for how much we would accomplish. At the end of each day we walked out with our heads down, shoulders sagged, spirits beaten. It seemed impossible. Until it wasn’t. Slowly, and then all at once, the genres came together: Mystery and Thriller, SciFi and Dystopian, Fantasy and Supernatural, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Latino and World Literature, Romance and ChickLit and Classics. Each book found a new home on a shelf with books that looked, walked and talked similarly. Now, Maine West High School Library joined the Genre Revolution. We didn’t ditch Dewey (for those of you few who still know what and who that is!) but we made our fiction collection more accessible. Using Genre labels, we have created subsections similar to what you would find in your local Barnes and Noble. Most of us, when we shop or browse for something...anything...we are looking for only the things we like, the stuff we are comfortable with. As librarians, we know that reading works much the same way. I dig historical fiction and fantasy (this girl loves her dragons) and Geoff is more of the hard hitting current and historical nonfiction, pop-culture fun, what’s real what’s now kind of a guy. Those are genres. Geoff’s fall to the non-fiction more than mine, but they are subject specific nonetheless. Equally, students think much the same way. When we have a reader’s advisory (little chat with a student to find out what sort of stuff they need/want) interview we often will ask things like, “What do you watch on TV or Netflix?” “What sort of video games do you play?” or “What do you do in your free time?” We spend a few minutes trying to understand quickly where to point students. Now, we can point students to a whole shelf instead of authors from all over the alphabet, losing their interest in running from one end of the library to the other to find something worthwhile.
Most importantly, the reason we spent our last days of the scalding summer reorganizing, is so that you all, students and staff, would feel fully that this is YOUR LIBRARY. It takes all of us to make it work efficiently and well. We aim to please and take care of ALL of our WARRIORS. If you are looking for a book: ASK. If you are wanting to see a book in our collection that we don’t currently have: ASK. If you need help printing your paper or need some direction around the library: ASK. We are here to answer your questions and help you out!
Our own Jane Wisdom has an opening ‘game’ or challenge for her Juniors each year that has struck me as pretty profound, and so naturally, I have stolen it. Saying you don’t like reading is a bit like saying you don’t like eating. If I hate peas, and no one has ever fed me anything but peas my whole life, of course I am not going to like eating. But if someone were to say try this Lou Malnati's deep dish, well hey now, eating just got amazing. There is a book out there for everyone. Maybe you just haven’t found it yet. Let us help you, please! We want you to find the book/author/genre that makes you want to read, makes you excited to come in and look for a new book. Take up the challenge, we are here to help you succeed.