Saturday, August 31, 2013

So Many Books, So Little Time (to Shelve Them All)

The books arrived last Monday, but first a little perspective on where Square 1 was for me in all this:

Librarian's desk and empty bookshelves

Empty Shelves

If you stare through the display racks, you can see some stray books floating around back on the shelves – a couple of classroom sets (including The Incredible Journey and A Wrinkle in Time), but mostly 25 year old "issues" books.

Boxes of books lined up in the gym
The books all came into the gym, which is why my arms look so much buffer than they did a week ago. For the most part, fiction and non-fiction were in separate boxes, but those boxes were all jumbled together. So the engineering staff and a couple guys from climate control helped me move them all downstairs and get them (mostly) separated into fiction and non-fiction at least.

Book stacksWhere they ended up stacked up all over the place. Most were labeled in a general way: 811, Dre-Dru, enough to let us sort them into fic/non-fic without too much hassle.

And during breaks, I got to hash out the leftovers from the school building's previous tenants. The issues books have been escorted to the trash, especially after cracking one open and finding that it still dated from the days of "having a single mother turns you into a druggie."

I get by with a little help from my friends
I also shamelessly begged help from friends so we could sort the non-fiction boxes down into 100s/200s/etc. Priority for me ended up being the science books, especially the 500s, simply because I (rightly) suspected that they would need the most work & weeding and I wanted to get after them early. According to our collection, alas, Pluto is still a planet and the internet does not exist. Weeding these fully is going to be difficult. I was once advised to draw the line at anything that predates the internet, but that would leave hardly any books in some subject areas. These and issues books are probably going to be where I spend any money I get. The astronomy section is particularly bad. I also discovered my least favorite Dewey number: 595.4 - spiders.

By now, the 500s have overflown the space that was designated as theirs by the previous tenants. For better or worse, I suspect we will not have enough space for all the books we received. The good news is that this encourages me to be more aggressive with my weeding where I can be, to be more generous with teachers' "Ooooh, can I have this for my classroom?" requests, and to allow kids to take more books home with them for longer. I can also probably bring some books over to the other campus. The bad news? Some things that deserve shelf time may not get it.

 Things I Have Learned Include: the last person to have this collection liked fairy tales about as much as I did; petition for volunteers/minions early and often; do not order your books backwards (whoops); talk to other librarians - they will want to help you (to the tune of "here's how you can get $10,000 worth of stuff"). Talk and blog and share and tell everyone you know because people will just give you stuff - lots of stuff - because they want the next generation of readers to have access to the books they loved and learn to love them too. Library school students will volunteer for letters of rec. If you say "I want to do program X," people will say "oh my god, that sounds great, let me give you the number of my friend at the Program X Foundation." Basically, never shut up about your library. Of course, for most library people, that's not a struggle.

Starting to shelve books

Books on the shelves with display racks

The displays with the 398s behind them.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Staff In-Service, Day Five


Or, rather, we will have books. Amid all the getting to know you exercises and school tours and distribution of classroom materials (dry erase markers and construction paper!), I have received news that we will be receiving around 15,000 books. I actually staggered when my wonderful Director of Curriculum (Ms. Monique Bell) told me the news.

I have no idea when they get here. I have no idea how they were cataloged. I have no idea if I'm receiving 15,000 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird. I really don't care (okay, I don't want 15,000 copies of a single title) because WE HAVE BOOKS! I am going to have an actual library that we can actually use!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Staff In-Service, Day One

Or, the matter of starting a school library from the ground up.

I am finally, delightfully, and gainfully employed in my career of choice: librarianship. (Technically, library specialist, as I have no MLIS.) Beginning with this post, I intend to blog about the challenges and successes of starting a school library from the ground up.

Just as a point of reference, here are some things that might be good for you to know:

- I have very little formal library education, amounting to a single children's literature class in college and a CE course in "Managing the One-Person Library" through Simmons

- However, I have worked as a page at the Oshkosh Public Library in two different departments (Reference & Adult Services - which included Teen - and Tech)

- I have my eye on library school, yes I do.

- My time will be split between two campuses.

- My budget is $0.

In short: At under age 30, I am going to run 2 libraries without an MLIS degree, with substantially less than 5 years of experience and no money at all.

Watch me learn on the fly!

What I'm reading today: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Dragon/human politics and political intrigue set in a medieval-ish world with a musical backdrop. Going to try to get this one on my shelves.