I was able to sub 4 days before the end of the school year, as the previous librarian left 1 month before school let out. During those days, I got a feel of some of what I needed to do to get ready for the coming school year. The shelves are extremely full - to the point of books being incorrectly shelved because of lack of space. One of the first big jobs that I did was to reorganize the Special Collections. Not my favorite section, but it serves a purpose. I recently shelf-read and weeded Fiction (anything with AR levels over 3.9). I wasn't aggressive with my weeding, I just don't know yet what the teachers assign the kids to read and so forth. Mostly I just go rid of severely out-dated books (like the novelization of Gremlins), and duplicates of low-circulating series like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. My other solution to the space problem was to pull series of books with AR levels averaging above 5.0. These books are going to be moved to a new collection called Intermediate Grades.
I spoke with the school's principal and she agreed wholeheartedly to buying a bookshelf for this new collection. I ordered a double-sided shelf even though it will be flush with a wall, since eventually it will stand on it's own with the other Fiction shelves (after the new school is completed and the Intermediate books leave my library.) In the same meeting she cautioned me about weeding too aggressively. She agrees that books become outdated but teachers have absolute favorites and I would possibly burn bridges if I got rid of something deemed a "must have".
I have recently started re-working the Nonfiction. The previous librarian had separated the 921s and moved them to the end of nonfiction. I just can't abide that. So while I was shifting them back, I started weeding. I have a huge stack of books to go through. I've decided to sort them into 3 categories:
- Not sure (is this sports star still playing? Is he/she some kind of legend?)
- Update - instead of 4 books about Princess Diana written in the early 90s, I could buy 1 new one on her that encompasses her whole life, and then purchase biographies of Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
I also worked my way through the Reference section and cut it down. I plan to eliminate 2 sets of outdated encyclopedias - and possibly the third set as well if it is older than 5 years. I read online that you should replace them after at least 5 years. I am not discarding all of the books, some of them will be re-cataloged and put into Nonfiction. I'd also like to look into replacing the atlases.
I understood the basic principle of weeding but not exactly how to go about it. I found the CREW system and read through it. I found it amazingly helpful. I will keep the guidelines from CREW in mind while I finish shelf-reading and shifting the Nonfiction.
I have a lot more to go before school starts but I feel like I'm making the school library into my library. A place where I can enjoy myself while I help the kids enjoy themselves. I want them to be excited to come to my library. I want them to take pride in learning library skills and library manners. I want them to love books as much as I do!
Okay, one last thing. Did you notice the bookshelf on the right side of my blog? It's called Shelfari and I LOVE it! I'm not using it for everything I read, simply because I read things I don't want on my school library blog. I do have a reading life away from children's books. But I love sharing what I'm reading and have read - I post all my books on Facebook when I start them. Since starting the 1 adult book 1 kid book routine, I have read so many good books. I hope you'll find the suggestions to your liking and maybe start a bookshelf of your own!