Thanks for visiting our blog. Please explore our website, too, at www.metisinnovations.com!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our New Library System

It's been a fascinating process watching students negotiating Metis, our new categorization system, and tracking how they have been using our collection. While some of the new categories, such as Animals, represent more or less the same books as the corresponding Dewey sections (differently organized and named), there are some categories which I think of as synthetic, in that they pull together books which were scattered in Dewey. One such category is "G MakingStuff."

In the MakingStuff category we put all the books about crafts, activities, games, drawing: in fact, anything that kids might want to do for fun, including putting on plays, magic tricks, cooking, origami and collecting stamps. This includes books on models scattered through the 620s, cooking and sewing books from the 640s, and books from many different sections of the 700s.

The category, like nearly all of our categories, is arranged by subdivisions with the name of the craft or activity organized alphabetically. The use of whole words in the call number and on the spine label, along with the picture label on each book, makes it possible for students to easily identify where the category begins and ends, and to jump from one subtopic to another.

Watching students use this section has been interesting and exciting. There is quite often a group of students clustered around the area, and students help other students to find books on a craft or activity. I watched a third grader one morning begin by looking at a book on paper crafts, and then move on to a book about how to sew, which was the book he eventually checked out. This natural and simple segue from paper craft to sewing could never have happened with Dewey: it would have entailed a jump from 735 to 646. Our cooking books have never been better used; the same goes for the drawing books and many other crafts.

Our circulation statistics bear this out. The books in this section have seen an amazing 87% increase in circulation for the first three months of the school year. This is a category that 4th grade students specifically asked for last year when we discussed with them the ways that they thought about categorizing information and books, and it has been one of the most successful areas of our new system.

No comments: