How do you organize your shelves? I did a major overhaul of my library this summer (I’m not finished), and I had a hard time deciding exactly what to do. This past school year was my first at this school and I inherited a mess, quite frankly. The collection hadn’t been properly weeded in my lifetime, if I were guessing. The Easy collection had so many books crammed on the shelves that the students couldn’t even look for a book. Not to mention, books were impossible to put away.
The Fiction section was (and still is for the time being) organized by the first letter of the author’s last name, making everything really hard to find. The Nonfiction section was full of hundreds of outdated books, like a pro basketball collection from 1994. The Biography section included books on people who were famous when I was in middle school (about 20 years ago.)
I do not have a library assistant, so I depend on students to help shelve my books. I am thankful for any help I can get, but as I started doing inventory, I noticed just how out of order everything really was. It was clear to me that I was going to have to spend some time cleaning up my library’s collection. I have spent numerous days this summer weeding, reorganizing, and getting things in proper order.
Things look much better, and I’ve done some reorganizing to make books easier for the students to find. In my Fiction section, I cleared off some shelves for series of chapter books (like Dan Gutman’s My Weird School, 39 Clues, Nancy Drew, Magic Tree House, etc.) The old configuration had series sprinkled throughout the other books with the same first letter of the author’s last name. Students destroyed the shelves looking for certain series and the books were just plain hard to find. I have marked all the series books with a neon pink sticker to help students shelve them in the proper location. This will make the regular Fiction shelves much easier to navigate as well. I’m also going to try a new easy chapter book section for students who are just starting to read chapter books.
Do you have any suggestions for ways to improve my shelves? How do you deal with elementary library organization problems? Leave your helpful hints in the comments.