Virginia Public Libraries Extranet

Where are the Pirate Books?

 A Simplified Approach to Picture Book Organization

Tazewell County Public Library in Southwest Virginia underwent a 2+ year process of organizing and labeling their 12k+ picture book collection so that it could be shelved according to subject. This project resulted in a 40% increase in picture book circulation.

Where are the Pirate Books?

Lisa Tyson and Erica Hall presented “Where are the Pirate Books?” at the Virginia Library Association annual conference in October 2016.

PowerPoint http://valibraries.lva.virginia.gov/ysnotes/Where%20are%20the%20pirate%20books.pdf

Project Goal

The goal of this project was to connect kids with books and accommodate young patrons by providing them with the means to browse independently, and they do! Even a 3 year old is able to make his way to the On the Go shelf and find truck books. Parents are also delighted to find all the picture books on a single topic on one shelf. Busy teachers doing a unit study on space will find all of the space picture books on the Space shelf. Everyone appreciates one stop shopping without hunting and pecking.

Tech Services

One important aspect of this process is that the books never had to go to Tech Services. The Youth Services staff scanned, labeled and shelved all the books. The books continue to be labeled JE SMI (Juvenile Easy SMITH), at the base of the spine. Additionally, a picture label indicating the subject is added 5” up from the base of the spine. This visual element is essential for pre-readers and assists them in browsing.

Adding Nonfiction

Additionally we have included 3-5 nonfiction books geared toward young patrons on the shelf with that subject. A nonfiction book about cows sits on the Farm shelf along with all the farm picture books. This helps to create a bridge from fiction to nonfiction.

List of Subject Shelves

Animals=A
A-Backyard
A-Bears
A-Birds
A-Bugs
A-Cats
A-Dinosaurs
A-Dogs
A-Farm
A-Horses
(A Pet category might be a nice addition)
A-Rabbits
A-Water (includes otters, turtles, frogs, alligators and crocs in addition to fish and marine mammals)
A-Wild (includes zoo animals)
Arts (includes dance, music and general arts)
Baby
Bed & Bath (in retrospect we would rename this Bath & Bed)
Black History
Cultures
Easy Reader 1 (we decide which books are level 1 & 2 and disregard publishers’ levels)
Easy Reader 2
Fairy Tales (prior to this project we changed call numbers of classic fairy tales to reflect the title: JE CIN for Cinderella, JE GOL for Goldilocks)
Faiths
Family
Fantasy
Favorite Friends (this includes both favorite authors, like Eric Carle, as well favorite characters)
Food
Gardening
Heroes
Library
Math
Nursery Rhymes
On the Go! (all modes of transportation shelved together)
Pirates
Princesses
Ready for K (basic concepts, potty training, simple ABC & 123 books)
School
Seasons (not separated by season because some books span more than one season)
Sing-a-Long
Space
Sports
Western
Holidays (these are sub-categorized into individual holidays and shelved chronologically following the calendar year–they are shelved near the end of the unit because they usually are checked out at the time the holiday is celebrated)
More Stories (everything that doesn’t fit into a particular category-not a very large category-shelved at the end of the unit)

by Lisa Tyson, Tazewell County Public Library
2.23.2017

Artwork by Megan Montague Cash ALA Library Art o2

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