Books about animals are super popular at my library, but finding them has been hard and putting them back has been a pain. I decided to plan for a new shelving approach, in order to help my users.
I’m leaving the Dewey number codes on the spines and will continue to add them to new books. Did you notice I don’t say “call numbers”? I’ve switched to saying “location codes”, because trying to tell a 2nd grader that “sometimes call numbers don’t have any numbers in them” makes me feel like the Sisyphean librarian!
My new plan is to add extra labels and colored label protectors to each book. I decided to have 3 main divisions: Land (green label covers), Water (blue label covers) and Birds (purple label covers). Within Land, I will also have a category called ALL – to hold books which contain many different species, as well as a category called HABITATS, and a category labeled BEHAVIORS. Within these categories, books can be put back on the shelf in any order (thanks to having a small collection).
Within LAND, the species will be in alphabetical order and now 4th and 5th graders (heck even some 2nd graders) will be able to re-shelve books. Any book which has more than one species will have the animal name and a big bold + to indicate more species. So, for example, books on big cats will either be labeled LIONS + or TIGERS +, according to which big cat predominates.
After all the labeling is finished, I’ll be ready to relocate and move the shelving range. The animal section will be perpendicular to the rest of the nonfiction, very close to the popular graphic novel shelving and with lots of space around it for browsers.