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Do we even need a Reference Section? I’ve asked myself that several times this year. Our reference collection consists of three sets of encyclopedias, a set each of dictionaries and thesauruses, about 50ish nonfiction texts, a huge unabridged dictionary, and an equally huge atlas.

There’s one book about birds that will play the bird’s call. Kids ask about checking that one out sometimes and I always wonder why I say no. For the most part, I’m a rule follower. I assume there’s usually a good reason for a rule. Reference books don’t circulate. That’s the rule. But sometimes rules need rethinking. 

What do you think? Do we need Reference Sections? If so, should those books circulate outside the library?

athensmusicjunkie replied to your post: I dont get much time to do librarian stuff…

BLESS YOU FOR WEEDING

Honestly, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Wish more people understood its importance. Have to keep it hush hush at school, because I really don’t want them to end up in classrooms. 

Book Fair is this week. Our Family Engagement Specialist and an awesome parent volunteer made all our decorations. Can’t wait to see the kids’ faces when they walk into the library tomorrow!

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Do you think that switching to the bookstore model will give the kids a disadvantage as they grow up and don't know how to find things in a dewey decimal system?
leftyjenkins leftyjenkins Said:

No.

Colleges use a different system of classification. Bookstores, obviously, use a different system. I don’t think there has to be a one-size-fits-all sort of approach to this. There are all sorts of things that change for students as they transition from elementary school to middle school, and from middle school to high school, and then from high school to the workplace or further education. 

I also think it’s important to keep your eye on the goal. My goal is to get kids reading as much as possible. I think helping them find books easily and independently works toward that goal. I don’t know many people who are very familiar with the Dewey Decimal System anyhow, so there’s no reason to think that what we’ve been doing gives students any advantage. Does the average person know that dinosaurs are in 567 or that books about China are in 931? Would you guess that motorcycles are in 629 but that monster trucks can be found in 796?

The Dewey Decimal System hasn’t been completely static throughout history either, or at least the way libraries use it hasn’t. Fiction used to be housed in the 800s. I’ve never seen a library that doesn’t have a fiction section separate from nonfiction. 

There are advantages and disadvantages to each system. I could name several confusing things about Dewey’s system and I’m sure I’ll encounter some problems with the Bookstore Model too. But after thinking about switching from DDS to the Bookstore Model for several years, reading about other schools that have made the transition, and talking with my students, I feel confident that this system is a better one. 

Also, SO curious as to who you are, mysterious questioner. Thanks for the question. What do YOU (all of you out there) think?

I’m pretty happy with these signs I made for my chapter book genres. Next up is putting genre stickers on the spines of thousands of books. Right now, they all have different color Sharpie dots. Stickers will be a big, big help.

Splitting up the chapter books has already proven to be a big hit. The kids love being able to easily find the books they like and it’s helped me learn more about what they are reading. Funny and Scary are getting the most action, while a few other sections have barely been touched. Goal for this year: turn kids onto other genres.

As far as the transition to the Bookstore Model goes, I think my next goal will be to pull out the really popular areas of nonfiction: sports and vehicles. Animals are a popular spot too, but that’s just too big of an undertaking for the moment. Baby steps.

So far, I’ve split up chapter books, and created areas for Graphic Novels, Poetry, Folk Tales & Fairy Tales, and books in Español.

Oh, and those wire dividers on all the shelves - LOVE THEM!

You can read the rest of my posts about my transition to the Bookstore Model here: http://leftyjenkins.tumblr.com/tagged/bookstore+model.

If you’ve thought about abandoning the Dewey Decimal System, but dread the work of creating a new classification system, look no further.  

This is a system designed by Kristie Miller and Christopher Harris and it’s yours to use, change, whatever.  Isn’t that cool of them?

Elementary School Classification System

By Kristie Miller and Christopher Harris

  • The Living World

    • Animals
      • Wild Animals (By Class then Name)
        • Mammals
          • Cats
          • Bears
          • Etc.
        • Reptiles
          • Etc
      • Domesticated Animals (By Name)
        • Cow (all types)
        • Dogs (all types)
        • Etc.
        • Working Animals
    • Plants
      • Trees
      • Plants
      • Flowers
      • Fungi
    • Agriculture
      • The Farm
        • Farm Equipment
        • Barns and Farm Buildings
        • Farm Crops
      • The Garden
        • Garden Plants
          • Fruits and Vegetables
          • Flowers and Houseplants
      • Soil
    • Dinosaurs and Pre-Historic Life
      • Dinosaurs
      • Pre-historic Plants
      • Pre-historic Animals
  • STEM

    • Science
      • Life Science
        • Biomes
          • Tundra
          • Grasslands
          • Etc.
        • Food Webs
      • Earth Science
        • Geology
          • Fossils
          • Rocks and Minerals
        • Forces of Nature
          • Volcanoes
          • Earthquakes
          • Glaciers
          • Tsunamis
          • Etc.
        • Landforms
          • Mountains
          • Oceans
          • Rivers
          • Lakes
          • Etc.
      • Weather / Severe Weather
        • Hurricanes
        • Tornados
        • Lightning
        • Etc.
      • Seasons
      • Space
        • Planets
        • The Sun
        • The Moon
        • Stars
        • Space Travel
      • Physics
        • Energy and Forces
          • Heat
          • Light
          • Sound
          • Motion
          • Weight
          • Magnets
          • Gravity
        • Building Blocks
          • Elements
          • Atoms
      • Science Experiments
    • Technology
      • Transportation
        • Ground
          • Cars
          • Trucks
          • Motorcycles
          • Bicycles
          • Motorsports (eg. Snowmobiles, BMX, NASCAR)
        • Air
        • Water
    • Engineering (architecture etc)
      • Construction
        • Construction Equipment
        • Materials
          • Wood
          • Plastic
          • Glass
          • Etc.
      • Architecture
        • Bridges
        • Dams
        • Buildings
        • Etc.
      • Inventions and Inventors
      • Futurism
      • Communication Technologies
        • Computers
        • Internet
        • Etc.
      • Television and Movies
        • The Technology
        • Making Movies/TV shows
        • History of
        • Books about movies/shows
          • Star Wars Vehicles
      • Energy
        • Natural Resources
        • Electricity
    • Mathematics
      • Time
      • Numbers
      • Measurement
      • Computation
        • Addition
        • Subtraction
        • Etc.
      • Advanced Math
  • Healthy Living

    • Health
      • The Body
      • Exercise
    • Medicine
      • Diseases
      • First Aid
      • Medical Technology
      • Death
    • Food and Cooking
      • Cookbooks
      • Special Diets
      • International Foods
      • Holiday Foods
      • Historical Foods
      • Types of Food
        • Sugar
        • Meat
        • Etc.
  • The Arts

    • Art and Artists
      • Artistic Concepts
        • Color
        • Perspective
        • Etc.
      • Drawing
      • Painting
      • Sculpture
      • Art History
      • Artists and their works
    • Music
      • Musical Concepts
      • Instruments
        • Woodwinds
        • Brass
        • Strings
        • Vocal
        • Etc.
      • Music History
      • Musicians and their works
    • Theatre Arts
      • Theatre Concepts
      • Theatre History
      • Dramas
      • Musicals
  • Play

    • Sports
      • Football
      • Baseball
      • Horsemanship
      • Hunting/Fishing
      • Camping/Hiking
      • Winter sports
      • Etc.
    • Toys
    • Games
      • Video
      • Analog
    • Jokes and Riddles
    • Puzzles
      • Crafts and Hobbies
      • Woodworking
      • Metalworking
      • Paper crafts
      • Knitting
      • Sewing
      • Collecting
      • Etc.
  • Social Studies (history and political geography)

    • History and Countries
      • Local
      • State (New York)
        • Erie Canal
      • US
        • Native People
        • Pre-Colonial
        • Colonial
        • Revolutionary
        • Civil War and Reconstruction
        • The States
        • Etc.
      • World
        • The Americas
        • Asia
        • Australia and Pacific Islands
        • Europe
        • Africa
        • Middle East
        • United Nations
      • Explorers
    • Government
      • Executive
      • Legislative
      • Judicial
      • The Military
        • Military Vehicles
        • Branches of Service
        • Weapons
      • Special Agencies
        • FBI
        • CIA
        • Sky Marshals
        • Etc.
    • Communities and Community Helpers
      • The Hospital
        • Doctors
        • Ambulances
        • EMTS
      • The Police Station
        • Police
          • Crime
          • Forensics
      • The Fire Department
      • The Library
      • The Market
      • The Museum
      • The School
      • The College or University
      • The Bank
      • Journalism
      • Careers
      • Community Groups
      • Holidays and Traditions
      • Clothes and Costumes
      • Rural communities
      • Urban communities
    • The Environment
      • Trash
      • Pollution
      • Recycling
      • Sustainable Energy
    • Community Issues
      • Terrorism
      • Sexism
      • Racism
      • Child Abuse
      • Bullying
      • Death and Dying
    • Religion
      • Alphabetical by religion (mythology under traditional literature)
  • Languages

    • History of Languages
    • ELA Concepts
      • Rhyming
      • Alliteration
      • Etc.
    • LOTE
    • Sign Language
    • Writing
    • Language Reference Books
  • Fiction

    • Poetry
    • Fantasy
      • Collections
      • By Author
    • Historical
      • Collections
      • By Author
    • Pullout Series
    • Traditional Literature
      • Mythology
      • Folk/Fairy Tales by Region
      • The Supernatural and Unexplained / Modern Legends
    • Literary Criticism

This elementary school classification system is released under a Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial, share-and-share-alike license.