Day Sixty Four of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

Pictograms-nps-misc-bookstoreHow are your books organized? Are you setting them up to make them readily available? Are you thinking about strategies to encourage people to discover all your good stuff?

Bookstores organize materials in this way, and in libraries we can also organize and display material to encourage use and to show off the best things you have in your collection!

“If it seems that Corcoran Library at Boston College High School is set up more like a bookstore than a typical school library, that’s because it is.

Students are greeted at the front by the latest additions to the collection, which is frequently updated, and at the back entrance by books on sports, the most popular subject at the all-boys school. Before last fall, those books would have been tucked away in different areas, difficult to find for anyone who didn’t know exactly what he wanted and how to locate it.

Likewise, strolling the aisles in hopes of just happening upon something of interest often proved to be fruitless, but now the Corcoran has abandoned the fusty Dewey Decimal System for an arrangement intended to be simple and intuitive, based on how books are arranged in bookstores.

“It empowers people to be able to browse,” said Diane Costagliola, the Corcoran’s director. “People see things more than they did when it was just on the shelf by Dewey.”

The changes at BC High reflect a shift long visible in public libraries and now spreading to schools. By embracing a consumer-focused model, they become more relevant and interesting to 21st-century readers. But whereas public libraries have turned themselves into community centers with a more general focus on patrons’ evolving needs, schools hope to inspire.

“Libraries are moving away from spaces that just store ideas to [places] that facilitate ideas,” said Mike Barker, director of academy research, information, and library services at Phillips Academy Andover.

One simple way of doing that is by clearing space for additional large tables to allow more students to use the library simultaneously and to make it easier for them to study together or work on group projects. And how are schools doing this? It might seem surprising, but many are getting rid of books.”

(Read the rest of this article here!)