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Tuesday, March 12, 2013


The question was a total stumper. I was negotiating my first interview for a full-time librarian trainee job. I thought I was doing well until the library director asked me "Can you see any disadvantages to merchandising?"

I had no idea what that meant. My mind flashed to clothing stores, windows, um, ...nothing. Whew, I had to admit in an interview that I didn't know.

Now that I have a few "holiday" displays under my belt, and a couple for "Women's History Month", I can see that indeed I do find some disadvantages to pulling out special book selections and propping them on an end-cap for extra visibility. Who knows where they are? What are some ways to track them? And communicate it to my colleagues? How many places do I need to check for a Hanukkah-themed folktale before I concede that it is lost? 

I just read a Tweet that reminded me of this.

It said: "Checking one last spot before finding the book they desperately need is the best! (Saturday librarian hashtag)".

Can't we all appreciate that feeling of success?

I remember how as a librarian working on Saturday, sometimes you have to check multiple places to find a book that should be "in." It could be on a cart to-be-shelved, or mis-filed on the shelf, or hidden by pranksters. Or on a special display!

Since we stopped using Dewey and converted to an intuitive subject-based categorization system, we've brought materials together from all over the library where they are most likely to be wanted and used by our students. We've identified them by call # in the catalog, so when I can't remember to think like a child, I can still look up the right location.

I like having our "Traditions" books all together with celebrations, holidays, how to throw a Halloween party, the best birthday stories---all labeled and with a simple whole-word descriptor like "Birthdays." I don't need to pull out the Hanukkah stories for a display once a year so they can be noticed.

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