Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An update on the Genre Shift/ Book Store Model

I decided to take a few minutes this week and update my readers about the Book Store Model/ Genrefication we are doing in my school library.  We are about 60 percent done with the non fiction section and I am already seeing a lot of benefits from the change. I am also seeing a lot of criticism.  Justifiably, I did this to help kids.  When a student comes to the media center, they need information and they need it fast. They are no longer given time with the Common Core Standards and the many assessments they need to do each year to spend hours in the media center roaming the stacks looking for books.  They also aren't effectively trained to use the catalog because doing so with a whole class setting doesn't happen. There just isn't enough time.  So we decided to move away from the classical setup of a library and shift ourselves into the new millennium.  A place where patrons can find things easier and staff can be more organized.  We have spent a lot of time talking and planning.  We are also spending a lot of time walking through the library and physically observing the things we have.  I am finding on a frequent basis that our collection is lacking and we are in need of newer things. I am also learning about what our kids are needing.

My critics feel I am not teaching kids the necessary library skills.  They comment that I am taking the lazy way out of running a library.  I disagree. Schools today don't have time to teach library skills the way they used to.  I get maybe five minutes per class to show them skills because the Common Core Standards require so much to get done.  I do a lot of one on one or very small group training.  It isn't uncommon to walk into the library and see two or three kids looking over my shoulder taking notes about a database or about the catalog.  Or, me making a quick training video and sending it them on email so they can learn it on their own. I am not lazy about this, I am efficient. I am not avoiding teaching them library skills, they learn skills, they just don't look for numbers developed 110 years ago, they look for categories.   When they leave my school, go to college or to the real world, they will do the same thing they do here, ask a librarian.  I hear adults at the public library asking for help all the time, how is my way any different?

Since I started this implementation, the kids are checking out Non-Fiction titles they never even glanced at before.  We label each section with a different sticker.  The kids see the sticker and it pops out at them.  They are pulling things based on what they see. They are reading books now that haven't been checked out in 5 or 6 years because of the location; the genre; or the area they see it. It is AWESOME!  If you are a school librarian and finding kids not using the library because there is no time in the day or because their teachers are rushing them in and out to meet the standards, look into it.  It is an awful lot of work, but the end result is so rewarding!

I am always willing to answer questions about the process.  I have been trying to establish a photo log of the process as well.  You can see my genre library dropbox and get an idea of how things are being developed as well as some ideas of the process we take.  Feel free to borrow ideas and email me if you ever have questions.

Because of Thanksgiving and the fact that Friday, I am taking a much deserved rest and shopping, I will not have a second post this week.  Look for more CLEAR posts after the holiday.

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