Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Truth About Our Fiction Collection

There are people who love to read and there are people who love books as much as they love to read. I am one of those people who loves being in the physical presence of books. I like see to see them, touch them and take comfort in knowing that they're there. The rise of e-books hasn't changed that for me. I'm not a hater of e-books, but I don't use them. That's right, this 21st. Century Media Tech doesn't own a tablet or e-reader device, but I do have a Kindle app on my iPhone.

One of the first things I did when I arrived in the Horizon Media Center was assess the fiction collection. And while there were lots of books, I wasn't thrilled with what I saw. Most of the collection consisted of dated materials and titles seemingly more appropriate for an adult collection (by that I mean 1980's spy thrillers, murder mysteries and historical tomes over 1,200 pages long). The classics, science fiction and fantasy were well represented however.

Have you heard of the 80/20 principal? If you applied it to kitchen gadgets it would go like this, you use 20% of your gadgets 80% of the time. In our fiction collection, about 20% felt relevant to our student patrons while the other 80% took up space and made it difficult for students to find the newer YA books. So I spent the first semester going through the fiction collection, book-by-book. I weeded out the old to make room for the new and reorganized the geography of the books to make it easier for students to find the stories they're most interested in. Though we have less on our shelves, I can't help but feel like the Media Center has more to offer our student patrons than before.

Here's a peek at some of the Extreme Makeover improvements-

1. Separate shelves for the Classics and Contemporary Fiction
       The Classics are now housed right across from the Biography section. This is where you'll find Steinbeck, Hemingway and my personal favorite, Faulkner. The Contemporary collection houses Fantasy, Science Fiction and all our current YA titles.

2. Manga and Graphic Novels are in the house!
      We've expanded our Manga collection to include more titles and added a few Graphic Novel titles (including some Shakespeare) as well. All of these books are on their own shelves at the end of the Contemporary Fiction section, right after Z. Following the good advice of the Head of Cataloging in the Scottsdale Public Library system, I created new call numbers for this section. Students no longer need to search through Non-Fiction to find these popular titles.

3. Labels-We're Name Dropping!
     Looking for a specific genre? Check the spine of the book. All our genre books are now labeled  accordingly- Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Sports and New.

4. But Wait- There's More!
     Between our successful book drive and our Fall Follett order (due to arrive any day now) we'll have about 200 new titles on the shelves (90% fiction, 10% Non-Fiction). The wishlist for our Spring order has been started and we're always looking for recommendations.

For a book lover and avid reader like me, 2012 is starting off in the best way possible. The most important thing I do here in the Media Center is put a book in a student's hand. The idea behind all the changes to the fiction collection was to help students be better able to find the books they want themselves and to discover things they hadn't noticed before.

E-books are great, but there's no substitute for walking through the stacks and seeing what catches your eye. Please stop by and take a look, we'd love to hear your feedback on the changes.

1 comment:

  1. What a great article! It's great to know how your diligence and patience will reward our students! Keep up the amazing work, and thank you!