It's now August. There are 22 days between me and the start of school and my library is in utter chaos. There's order in the midst of this chaos, but barring a miracle, the new Dewey system will not be done in time. It turns out that starting a giant project just before the end of the year, getting married, traveling, doing professional development, and having the library open only until 3:30 each day (I've been known to stay at school as late as 7 p.m. during the year) means there's really not that much time to get things done.
Still, we're plugging away. My aide has been coming in to help in my absence, and we've worked out a pretty decent system - spend all day working on changing catalog records, then take armloads of books home to do labels. This way we maximize our time changing records (which can only be done at school) and my husband gets a good workout climbing our stairs with hundreds of books at a time.
And even if the library isn't completely done, what is done already looks so wonderful and has convinced me that this was an excellent idea. Just before I left, I pulled together all the lovely Civil Rights Era biographies I have and put them with the Civil Rights Era history books. Suddenly the section looks rich and well-rounded, with all those gorgeous picture book biographies of Dr. King, Coretta Scott King, Marian Anderson and Claudette Colvin seamlessly integrated into the main collection. And my countries/cultures section looks great, too - all the books from the different parts of the 900s are now together in one place. No longer is Australia banished to 999!
The goal now is to get the most popular sections done before school starts (between me, my aide, my husband and some dedicated parents, I'm hoping we can get this far at least) and save the rest for later and hope for the best. It's going to be bumpy, and I'd be lying if I said I was calm, but I'm trying to be pragmatic.
I've still got some books I have no idea how to categorize, but I've also been surprised by how my decisions have changed as I've gone along. For example, I had originally thought my animal section would be "ANIMALS - ANIMAL NAME." Then I thought about broad, scientific categories - "ANIMALS - REPTILES - SNAKES." But then I started thinking about how that wouldn't always bring together "families" of animals. So now I have categories like "Big Cats," "Farm," "Pets," "Primates," and "Sea Mammals," which essentially takes the Dewey categories and translates them.
I am also looking forward to designing new and improved signage. The previous signs were unnoticeable and child-unfriendly, so I'm hoping to meld graphics with text for easy navigation. There's still some logistical kinks to work out, but when we're done, the library is going to be a completely different place. Until then, I will simply have to keep calm and label on.
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also review children's, middle grade, and young adult books on Instagram.
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