“Rethinking Shelving: Making Your Children’s Collections User-Friendly” by Steven Engelfried

It was the princesses that did it. About five years ago it seemed like every day a different little girl would come up to the children’s desk and want help finding picture books about princesses. I could do pretty well with trucks and trains because I knew enough books by author and could jump from Barton to Crews to McMullen until I found one. But I only knew a few princess books, and they were always checked out. And that was the final straw that led us to create our “Picture Book Topics” section. Soon we had a new “Pink” section filled with princesses, mermaids, and stories about girls who like sparkly things. It became and remains one of the most heavily used collections in the library.

We’ve added other new sections to our children’s collection in the past five years, including leveled early readers, a “Non-Fiction Series” area, and fiction staff picks by grade level and genre. All of the changes were spurred by asking a few basic questions about what happens at the Children’s Desk:• How do kids (and sometimes their grownups) describe the books they want?• Do we arrange the collection in ways that match those descriptions?• If our collection arrangement doesn’t match a user’s questions, can we change it?

Source: “Rethinking Shelving: Making Your Children’s Collections User-Friendly” by Steven Engelfried


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