Saturday, September 28, 2013

Imact on Student Learning

The big question: How does this system impact student learning-- or in this case, how does METIS improve students' accessibility in the room and the quality of the book selections each child makes.
I have been mulling this since school began and have a few observations. After four weeks of school and very slowly introducing the 3 and 4 year olds to the collection, had a lovely moment this week. We finished reading Caps for Sale and in dismissing them to "Find a book, check it out, read to a puppet" watched each of the 8 jump up, holler out the topic in which s/he was interested and disburse themselves into the room. They collectively shouted "trucks!"; "princesses!"; "kitties!"; "ninja!"; "star wars!" and made their way into the collection independently. Imagine what the searches for these topics would have looked like if Dewey were still in place...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dynamic Landscapes!

I presented my progress and some discoveries at the Dynamic Landscapes Conference in the Spring. I will happily share with you the link and hope you will get back to me with questions!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I used some book fair money to afford the $150.00 CD which has images large enough to print. I will do this over the later part of this vacation week to post for my students. I think I will use them to 'teach', especially the kindies, how to use the pictures to find what they are looking for.

With any luck, they will discover sections beyond Star Wars and Princesses!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


What a breeze! I made signs-- easy and tricky fantasy, realistic, historical... then sorted! Anything that didn't fit went elsewhere in the collection. The labels were easy to whip off and we used the barcode scanner after these books were labeled to change the call number. 6 shelves left, and then biographies... almost done!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Work Day

I spent the last days of my vacation cataloging like a wild woman to get books ready for labeling and shelving. I has about 3,000 titles ready for Monday when a wonderful eight volunteers showed up to help-- shelve, tape, tidy-- whatever I asked them to do!

This was our label basket after the volunteers left... it NEVER looks like this-- usually its more like Medusa's tangles!

Hostess that I am, the twins opted for hot chocolate sustenance.

Even our Principal chipped in and worked the wonky tape dispenser like a pro. Smiles aplenty, this crew met every expectation I had and more.

It was funny to watch them get distracted by books. Welcome to my world.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Action shot: right from my chair--five of the 26 piles of newly identified METIS piles... took three days of my vacation! This is my first step, especially with the picture books that do not necessarily belong in a given area. I make a decision, and put a stickie on the cover indicating the new call number, then type the call number into the LibreOffice spreadsheet. The sheets have 30 stickers, so my piles have 30 books.

In a perfect world, I would also change the call number in Destiny to reflect the new location. 2,640 books this week and the catalog's server has been out for repair.

Just keep swimming, right?

Friday, February 1, 2013


"I want a REAL book about dragons-- a book with facts and photos so I can learn about them..." If I had a nickle for every time I have been asked this question by my researchers I would build my own library!

It is one of my favorite questions with METIS on our horizon. The question came yesterday and I was delighted (and challenged) to find that we had 166 books in our collection with "dragon" in the record. I was able to quickly pull the picture books and fiction that was here this morning. When the researchers arrived I had changed the call number in Destiny, created and printed white "P DRAGON" labels and just needed to affix the pink P TALES sticker and tape them.

The researchers jumped in to assist and in minutes we had a whole shelf's worth of P DRAGON books.

Fire-breathing breathtaking! 

These in the moment efforts to meet the immediate needs of my patrons is the reason we have such high circulation, AND the reason the often feels so unwieldy.  The 500 books I cataloged the other day are still sitting there waiting but my students are not asking for books about countries right now.  I will be ready for them when they do :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I had a block of time and decided to grab a globe, atlas and curriculum (great way to make decisions about how teachers will find books-- not so sure about students)... and tackle the 900's. I categorized over 500 books! It turned out to be less daunting than I expected. The trickiest part was the designations of Native Americans by geographic area... not always easily distinguishable by name.

Organizationally, creating the labels for 30 books at a time, (Avery 5160, 3 across 10 down) plunking them in a bucket (I use dish tubs!) and lining them up for cataloging has been a manageable system.

I also like the second step after I have decided what the new Metis label will read and printing it, of putting Metis Call Number, color label and big 3-4 inch tape over the kaboodle. It's a great job for my volunteers!

Students have shared in the excitement each week to see my progress-- having now finished the numbers, I am about to tackle the Picture books, saving Memoir and Fiction for last. Why? space, mostly. I am trying to move books around as little as possible.

A happy epilogue: a teacher was poking around when I came in to the room today and I asked her if she needed help-- she was busy using the catalog and rubbing her head alot-- I could see her thinking but let her go, trusting the intuitive nature of this new design, when two minutes later she came striding over to the circulation desk glowing with satisfaction. Not only had she found what she was looking for but a few bonus titles as well! Yay!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cockroaches or Art??

So the challenge this week are those chapter books (although I have not really decided to launch into this section-- I am trying to be hyper vigilant about completing one section at a time... I am currently half way through my 700's) that seem to have a logical spot, or two, or three.

Masterpiece, by Broach:

I have heard arguments for each but have decided to go with my illustrious assistants rationale that the author struggled long and hard in trying to come up with a title and the focus on art cannot be denied. Any budding artist who is looking to enhance his or her craft and stumbles upon this delightful story will be undeniably pleased. H PAINTING X-BROACH, it is.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I think I can, I think I can...

There are two methods I have used to move through the collection. The first is to tackle a chunk of the nonfiction at a time... I did all the 600's last weekend. it is easy to grab all the dog books for example (nonfiction only) and create labels for them. Wanda likes this because when I pass the bucket of books and their labels to her, she can easily change the call number with copy and paste. the challenge is that we are fully functioning so I never really get all the books in a section... The other method is to grab books off the cart and re-cataloging them individually. Wanda does not like this method as much because ever book is a new and different call number.

I am moving through quite quickly... 50-100 books a day.

The greater challenge, I suspect, will be the picture and biography books which are, of course, arranged by author... I am still a bit unclear bout categories X, Y, and Z. X is picture books, I think, and maybe only the ones which do not inherently land in the other METIS sections. Babar to elephants? Curious George to monkeys, Olivia to pigs? I keep asking myself where would a child look for this book? Our picture book collection has always been under-appreciated so my creativity will be challenged!

When in doubt, I will cheat and take a peek at the Ethical Culture schools catalog. It has been so rewarding to have my intuition supported and reinforced by the cataloging choices made by those librarians!

BTW, this picture has nothing to do with this post-- we were just talking about the actual length of a saltwater crocodile.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wanda on Wheels!

So here is Wanda and her versatile little station. It is on wheels, of course... I have been pulling piles of 30 titles at a time and creating the initial label for them (Avery 5160). She takes the bucket, catalogs every book, adds the METIS label, and covers it with clear book tape. Our goal to get it done by the end of the year, thanks to Mrs. Menz's second grade math class -- 3 buckets a day.

The miracle? Wanda is getting all the cataloging done during the last hour of the day while I teach a class of kindies. She manages to keep a smile on!

Dave, the library assistant, is keeping up with the TWO systems we have going with ease and patience. I cant get this done soon enough!