Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fiction Shelving Dilemma

pic by Gibson, 2011
Today is Saturday and I woke up around 6 in the morning thinking about the Fiction shelving dilemma at my new school library. 
This is not good.
As a former middle school librarian, the fiction shelving was pretty straight forward. All the fiction titles were labeled F and that was that.  But in an elementary setting (K-5), it’s a different story (that was kind of a pun).  I have to shelve the fiction titles in a way that makes sense for my younger students, and for me.
The library I inherited has many books. I have a small section for Fiction titles. These books are labeled F for Fiction. Okay, no problem.
Then I have another section just for Picture fiction books. These books are labeled P for Picture books. Okay, I can deal with this.
Next I have a section for Easy fiction titles. These books are labeled E for Easy.  This is where things get dicey for me.
I don’t know about you, but I really dislike the designation of E for Easy.  When you have a student who is a struggling reader, the last thing you want to tell him/her is, “Here is an “Easy” book for you.  That hurts and insults them. And if you have a non-reader who can’t even read an “Easy” book, then what??  If I decide to keep an E section in this library (I still don’t know if I will), E will be for “Everyone”, and NOT “Easy”.
Now about those P is for Picture books. Many students (and lots of adults) mistakenly think that Picture books are easy to read. Some Picture books are indeed easy to read, while many are very hard to read. “Picture books” and “Easy books” (or E is for Everyone) even look the same: they are oversized books with big pictures. Can’t I just shelve the P and E books together?
As mentioned earlier, I have a small collection of F for Fiction titles. These books, unlike their E and P counterparts, all stand very nicely on the shelves. They are not oversized like the E and P books, so they don’t flop over. I like this. This makes my life easier.  But why are these books labeled F for Fiction while all the P and E books are also all Fiction?  Do you see why I woke up early this Saturday morning?
I hope to get some advice and different points of view. I need to get some S. That’s S for Sleep.

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Thanks for keeping your comments child-friendly :)