How many times has a patron asked you for books about princesses, or Pete the Cat, or colors and you’ve had to ask them for specific titles or to wait a few minutes to consult your computer?
The traditional method of organizing books by an authors last name does not allow for brows-ability, especially in a picture book section. That is why many libraries find ways to feature their picture books with face out shelving and to reorganize the picture books into categories or topics. I took a look at local libraries around me and on the Internet to see various trends and ideas for organizing picture books. It seemed like common trends with libraries who employed categories were customer satisfaction, easier brows-ability and increased circulation.
My old library called our organized picture books, “Kids Favorites,” and divided certain books into specific categories while keeping some books in alphabetical order by author. My current library has everything divided into categories and it is still called the picture book section. I’ve also heard of people calling it, “Picture Book City,” “The First Five Years Collection,”
I’ve seen a variety of categories and subcategories including but not limited to:
- Celebrations or Holidays or Traditions (holidays, parties, and special events)
- Concepts or Basics (can include ABC’s, Colors, Numbers, Shapes, Size, Time, Opposites, Sign Language)
- Favorites (popular series, great read-a-louds, classics, award winners). I’ve also seen this as a ctach all for titles that don’t fit in a specific section
- Folk/ Fairy Tales
- Emotions or Ourselves or Growing Up or Me
- Fun and Games
- Nature (This I’ve seen as either weather and trees or even dinosaurs and animals)
- People or Community or Places or Alaska
- Pretty in Pink or Princesses
- Rhymes and Songs or Rhythm
- Seek and Find
- Sights and Sounds
- Sports or Movement
- Stories (This can take many directions with adventures, princesses, pirates, bedtime, or monsters).
- Transportation or Go Go Go
Changing your collection in such a drastic manner can be quite complicated. You may choose to start small, or turn over the whole collection at once. Below are some questions to consider while making a reorganization.
- Who is responsible for making decisions both initially and as new books come in?
- How will the cataloging, labeling and relabeling process work?
- What categories and classification will you use?
- How will you shelve the books?
- How will you make the collection available during the conversion?
- What will signage and call numbers look like?
- How will collaboration with technical services and other departments work for such a big change?
- Will you include non fiction books? How will that be determined?
Have you done a picture book reorganization or classification at your library? I would love to hear any advice or information in the comments.