Friday, December 2, 2011

Shelves? No way. I prefer a messy pile.

I'm not neat by nature. Is that weird for a librarian? Neatness is my Achilles heel, and if wasn't for my fabulous staff, the library would be in a constant case of disarray.

Luckily, there are times when a little disorganization is a good thing. 

I've noticed when you send a group of kids to the stacks to find a book, they just stare blankly at the shelves with their hands in their pockets. They don't have the motivation/drive/energy/ambition to actually pull books off and look at them. 

The best way to address the issue? MAKE A MESS!

When I have classes that need to select novels,  I spread piles of books out on our large work tables. Usually each table has a theme (maybe organized by subject matter or genre or whatever we're studying), and the kids spend 2 or 3 minutes at each table, quickly evaluating as many books as they can. When they see one they like, they add it to their list. At the end of the activity, they rank their top 5 finds, and then as we dismiss table by table, they grab their book and head for checkout. It works SO MUCH better than having them search the shelves.

When it comes to picking books, a mess is best!

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