April 1st, 2015 Brian Herzog
My library has implemented a few alternatives to Dewey shelving in the past, but we're rolling out something this week that I'm really excited about - we're calling it Intergenerational Shelving.
The idea originated when we noticed the difficulties some families had in using the library. Parents would bring their kids in, often of various ages, and picking up books for everyone required stopping in multiple departments. Wouldn't it be nice, we reasoned, if we didn't cordon people off by age, but instead opened up the entire library for everyone?
Yes! So our solution was to intermix all of the books in the entire library, along these guidelines: books for adults on the top shelves, and books for kids on the bottom shelves. Here's how our approach looks:
As you can see, adult books are on the high shelves - which eliminates adults having to bend way down to the lower shelves to find things. And kids books are on the bottom shelves, so all kids books are within kid reach. The colorful border indicates the age levels.
This system has lots of other benefits too:
- We're trying to line up adult, teen, and childrens non-fiction books, so all the books we have on a subject - say, the solar system - are right next to each other, regardless of the target age
- It removes age-related stigmas association with books - adults who want a kids book, either for an easy-to-understand introduction to a topic, or just like reading kid stories, don't have to be embarrassed about going into the Childrens Room (or worse, get accusatory glances for not having a child chaperon)
- Kids who are advanced readers are more likely to serendipitously encounter higher reading level books
- Parents are less tempted to dump their kids in the unlicensed daycare that is the Childrens Room while they go off looking to the adult section - now the entire family can browse together
- This really reenforces the Library As Community Center idea, because patrons who may not have ever mixed before now find themselves in the same aisle all the time: kids series books are shelved under large print, and our senior patrons enjoy hearing from kids what the Rainbow Fairies are up to
- Reshelving books has been tremendously simplified - all our Pages have now been trained to shelve everything. And, the Circ staff doesn't have to pre-sort carts as items are checked in - everything is just mixed together and the Pages take care of it
This has been such a huge success so far that we've gotten inquiries from retail stores who'd like to copy the model for their own shelves. The local grocery store is considering putting boring foodstuffs on their adult-eye-level shelves, with toys and candy on the low shelves underneath. The possibilities are endless!
March 28th, 2015 Brian Herzog
There really was nothing to this question, other than I thought it was neat and a creative idea. This came into the general reference email inbox this week:
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Subject: Card Catalog
My name is [...] and I am a high school teacher in town. My fiancé, [...], is a life long resident of Chelmsford and currently teaches at the high school as well. We are getting married this fall and are hoping to include a theme of vintage school, as it was education that brought us together. We want to incorporate as much school and hometown as we can into our centerpieces and we're hoping Chelmsford Library may be able to help us. We were wondering if you had any wooden card catalog container you were willing to part with. We could clearly make a donation or pay for them. If you could let us know we would be extremely grateful.
Unfortunately, all I could really do was write her back saying that no, we don't have those anymore.
And honestly I think that if we did, we certainly wouldn't sell it and I'm not even sure we'd loan it out for a use like this. Maybe, depending on the size, but those are such a hot commodity now that they are a lot more valuable than people think.
But it did get me wondering about other sources for wedding "props" that would be either educational or of local interest. I presume they've already checked around the local schools, for desks or tables and such things. Any other group that I work with regularly - the historical society, local museums, even Town Hall - probably wouldn't lend their pieces to be used at a wedding. Beyond that, it's either local consignment shops or getting lucky knowing someone who has something.
Which is kind of too bad - a card catalog would make any wedding more interesting.
March 4th, 2015 Brian Herzog
This is not at all important or relevant, but it amused me.
I heard that a patron had complained about our book donation situation* on Facebook, and when I had a few spare minutes one day, I thought I'd do a quick search to see if I could find it. The problem was that I had no idea who said it, where it was posted, or what keywords to search for.
So, more out of idle optimism than anything else, I did a Google search for chelmsford library donate facebook, and much to my surprise, one of the results was:
Since I'm looking for a patron complaint, I'm already in a negative mindset, and "nappy" struck me with the negative connotation that word can carry.
So, immediately I was like, holy smokes, someone not only complained about us, but even set up a Facebook hate page because we're a real nappy library. Wow.
But of course, reading the description or clicking through the link (which I did before reading) makes it clear that not everything in the world revolves around the Chelmsford Library in which I work. In fact, this Facebook page was about a diaper exchange program in Chelmsford, England - in which land the phrase "real nappy" has an entirely different meaning.
I don't have kids, but this seems like another example of a great non-traditional collection for libraries. I would not want to deal with dirty diapers, but it's one of those temporary-need items that might make for good community sharing.
And speaking of cloth diapers, a friend of mine once had a very similar idea, except that it would be a cloth diaper pickup and delivery service based out of a truck with a mobile washing station. Pretty good idea (again, except for the dirty diaper part), except that instead of just a non-traditional library collection, it would be a non-traditional bookmobile.
*We temporarily have nowhere to store donated books, so we're asking patrons to hold donations until the Spring. The problem was that this message wasn't communicated very well to the patron.
February 19th, 2015 Brian Herzog
My brother sent me this image, which I believe is from the Sandusky Register. The title of this post was his only comment, and the funny thing is that it was my first thought too:
Regardless, great job to the Sandusky Library for running this in the local paper (I presume it was them, anyway). Interesting and engaging, and anyone who reads the paper can't help but be reminded of the library.
January 31st, 2015 Brian Herzog
I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing about New England snow storms by now (I certainly am), but by far the most common question I heard this week was, "Brian, how much snow did you get at your house?"
Well, this is how much:
Which is to say, more than a lot, but I stopped counting. Granted, this is next to my driveway so some of it is piled up from shoveling, but still a lot. And more coming this weekend.
And for the fun of it, I tried to make the yardstick as close to actual size as I could:
So, if you'd like to get the full Brian's Driveway Experience, just print out that image and hold it up next to you. Or, I am accepting volunteers to help come shovel after the next storm.
Tags: 2015, blizzard, january, libraries, Library, new england, public, Reference Question, shoveling, snow, yardstick
January 29th, 2015 Brian Herzog
It's not, actually, but perhaps it should be. We had a plumber in the library today fixing one of our men's restrooms. In the course of his repair work, he had to go into the drop-ceiling in the bathroom, and this is what he found:
I've heard of library bathroom ceilings being used as dead-drops for drug deals - which at least has a logical utility - but I don't understand why these books would have ended up in the bathroom ceiling.
They all seem like old travel books, had been part of our branch library's collection, and have all been withdrawn and deleted. Not just lost and deleted, but actually stamped by staff as withdrawn.
I have no idea how they went from deleted from the branch to above the men's room of the main library. Plus, it's a ten foot ceiling too, so it's not like it'd be an easy place to store reading material.
So, if you get a chance today, pop your head up into the bathroom ceiling - who knows what interesting things you may find (I for one can't wait to check the rest of our bathrooms).