Earlier this year, I took over the responsibility of the Parent Teacher Collection at my library. It was a natural fit since I had to keep bringing picture books to my boss and spending time together to figure out what collection a picture book like Todd Parr’s The Goodbye Book really belonged in.
I was also asked to re-organize the collection by de-Deweying and creating browseable subjects.
Instead of writing through every step, I made a quick infographic detailing my process:
- Collection has ten shelves; roughly 650 books.
- Books are a mixture of adult books and children’s materials.
- We decided on seven main subjects: Development, Health, Relationships, Safety, School, Special Needs, and Travel.
- There are sub-subjects under every main subject except Travel.
- While the collection is mostly comprised of books, it does have some DVDs and software.
- At the bottom (in the red polka dot totes) are our Parenting Packs, which are kits geared towards parents/caregivers to use during milestone events.
- Books show up in the catalog with the full call number: PARENTS DEVELOPMENT POTTY WILLEMS.
- Books are purchased by the Kids & Teens staff members from the children’s non-fiction budget line.
- Generally, books that are used WITH children are shelved in the Parent Teacher Collection. Books about child psychology, parenting memoirs, and academic materials are shelved downstairs in the Adult Services collection.
- I consult with the Adult Services librarian who selects for the 600s. We have determined that we are okay with purchasing doubles of materials.
- Every time I walk past the section, the shelves need to be straightened. This means that they’re being used!
- I’m seeing 40% more of the collection moving based on recently returned books.
- I see more browsers which is GREAT and the reason why we decided to de-Dewey the collection. Caregivers are often dealing with a difficult problem when they are looking in the Parent Teacher Collection. They might not be comfortable asking for help and may also want to get their information quickly. This project makes that possible.
- A parent thanked me for integrating the picture books and parent books. It made finding the right resources a one-stop shop for her.
- Another parent expressed gratitude that the subject she was looking for was all shelved together and easy to find.
- Half of the Parenting Packs are currently checked out.
It’s only been a few months, but I think this is one of the best things I’ve done at the library. My co-workers are probably getting tired of hearing me squee every time I see the return cart packed with Parent Teacher Collection books. (I kid — they are all incredibly supportive!)
I’m still not 100% done and I never will be. I need to continually evaluate this collection and actively seek out new materials since they aren’t always readily available in traditional review journals. We’re also preparing a new marketing campaign to help show the organization of the shelves, as well as a brochure to help parents/caregivers navigate the section.
Do you have a Parent Teacher Collection? Any tips or tricks to share? Any questions for me? Let’s talk in the comments!
– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library