Getting to Know You

I love getting to know the print collection of a new library. Does it have familiar titles and authors? Does it have the books I’ve been wanting to read? Does it have books that are new to me? Are there gaps I want to consider filling? Are there things I can learn about the community (and its readers) by getting to know the print collection?

I’ve just started a new job at a school that did not have a librarian on campus during the last school year, meaning the print collection was in need of a little, um, attention. There was evidence of well-intentioned efforts to keep the collection in order, and also evidence that keeping up with shelf maintenance was not a top priority during a most unusual school year (and rightfully so). 

The print collection’s need for a little TLC gave me the perfect way to get to know the collection. At this point in my process I’ve handled pretty much every book in our fiction collection – and created a TBR pile I have no hope of finishing before the summer is over. 

Shelf maintenance is also a good way to get to know your community’s sense of humor 🙂 

This project also gave me some insight into how students use the space the collection is in. There’s one spot that was in particularly rough shape, in large part because of its proximity to two student seating areas. After trying to figure out where the shelving pins may have wandered off to – and consulting with some folks who know the space better than I do – I decided that this might not be an ideal shelving location. 

So now my next project is to decide what to do with this space instead. I need something that won’t get destroyed easily, but that also doesn’t invite climbing. Some kind of (very durable) display? Inspirational quotes? A showcase of student work? I suspect I’ll have to try a few things before I figure out the best way to use this space. Let me know if you have ideas!

4 thoughts on “Getting to Know You

  1. Congratulations on the new job! what an exciting time for you as you explore a new library. How far down do the windows extend behind the shelving space you would like to change?

    • The windows go all the way to the floor – there’s a ramp behind the shelves, and a seating area as well. Did you go to Beaver Country Day when AISL was in Boston a few years ago? That’s the school!

  2. The googly eyes I will take credit for in my time as the librarian over there (I can’t believe some of those are still kicking around… my apologies!)… and I share in the wow! about those poor shelves. Looks like they are in some good hands with you at the helm.

    • Finding those googly eyes was an absolute delight in the middle of a rather arduous project, so thank you! 🙂

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