Lamenting over Layout

The school year is winding down quickly — tomorrow I go back from spring break for two weeks of state testing/chaos, then just two more weeks of circulation before I have to shut the library down to get the library packed up and ready for the move. Since I’ve yet to do a complete inventory and both fiction and non fiction need to be cleaned up in the system, May is going to be a busy month. Especially since I’ve been told that everything needs to be DONE and ready to go by the last day of school.

After looking at the calendar and realizing how quickly this was going to come at me, I decided I needed to move past the denial phase and start really planning! So today I’ve been playing around with how I want to lay things out in the new space, which is VERY different from the rectangular box where the library currently lives.

Since fiction and non fiction are all now broken down by genre/category, I think this gives me some interesting options for arrangement. Below is my first draft of the new library layout. Feedback would definitely be appreciated!!

I like the idea of being able to put relevant fiction and not fiction categories near each other. For example, sports fiction and non fiction can be next door neighbors! I’m also thinking that having Sci-Fi/Fantasy and NF Science, Supernatural, and Mythology in the same area. The same for Historical Fiction and NF History and War.

See full size on Flickr here.

I think this layout puts high-interest sections in the more flexible/larger spaces. I’m going to have LOADS of extra shelf space (worried that it may look empty, but I can’t really control that…). I also have some furniture that’s been ordered that won’t be functional/relevant such as newspaper racks, dictionary stand, atlas stand, too much magazine space. Once I get all of the tables and chairs, I’ll have to figure out a way to arrange it so I can also add in some lounge seating (which wasn’t included with district funds).

The center shelving will be 48” tall and have adjustable shelves (up to 4 shelves per section). Shelving around the walls will be 42” (lots of windows taking up wall space) and those will have two shelves per section with wood dividers. Rectangular tables will be up front, along with my projector station. Round tables will be in the back area near the rear doors, which will open into the courtyard.

SO, if you have any thoughts, ideas, or comments after glancing over this layout and reading this post, I would REALLY appreciate some feedback!!

PS: Thanks to everyone who responded about newspaper subscriptions in their library! I haven’t had a subscription since I’ve been in this library and don’t see the point in spending funds on it, yet when my plans came in there were fancy sections for me to hang newspapers. It looks like a lot of you have canceled your subscriptions in the past few years or plan to in the very near future.

8 thoughts on “Lamenting over Layout

  1. Looks nice. I like the idea of grouping the sections together. I think the kids will like that as well and how convenient for them to pick up a nonfiction while they are close by. You can always use the magazine area for cover out displays and put lots of books cover out to fill up the shelves. Order some book stands or look for inexpensive plate/frame holders. Maybe the empty shelves will prompt them to increase your book budget:)

  2. I’m very jealous about getting to design a new library and of the size of your library. Our library is very small and the shelves are pretty permanently stuck(although I am in the process of trying to figure a way of changing things). I do love the way you have broken up the fiction and non fiction into sections into topics. I have a question. Is all of your books in a certain level of reading. Like all adult or youth books? No separate section of picture books? My library is a k-12 school and public library in one and I have so many different sections of books without separating them into topics.
    I do think that the way you have them in topic sections is amazing!

  3. Having lots of open space is good. Lounges assist students engage.

    Having group work zones and areas that can be re configured can work.

    I love putting NF science and F sci fi together etc.

  4. It’s good that you are able to have input into the design. My library was redesigned by professional architects, which means I spend a lot of time hunching over the circ desk because they assumed I would be sitting down all the time. The one problem I have found with 48 inch shelves (other than the children trying to use them like parallel bars and kick each other!) is that no one looks on the very bottom shelf. When they were 60 inches tall, I could use three shelves, but now I can only use two if I really want students to see things. Good luck! It is possible– two years ago I packed 11,000 books into cardboard boxes and hauled them to the cafeteria. I have gotten over the trauma!

  5. You’re a genius. I almost did a masters paper based off of this post. Unfortunately, due to the lack of general terminology and recent academic/professional publication on genrefication (its layout, future, successes, failures), it was a bust.

    However, I now have three areas for future research because of your shared information:

    1) How information is organized – can there be an objective organization of subjective topics?

    2) How does line-of-sight shelving from a topic expand a child’s reading interests?
    If a child stands by war, which genre is he more likely to branch into: science (because of the geography), history (because of poltics) or mechanics (because of inventions)? How do subjects’ spatial and or relational shelving affect a child’s reading interest? If libraries shelve in a certain pattern, can one child be enticed into reading the entire nonfiction collection?

    3) What are the various collection layout approaches and architectural buildings now available to libraries because of genre shelving?

    1. Wow, thanks!! I agree, and I probably need to do more to get data out there about this in professional publications. I had some great data collected that I share in presentations from my old school. I’m still in my first year in my new school (and a very atypical year at that), so I know my data here won’t be worth anything for a while.

      1. Do it. Your name is big enough in this discussion and you’ve done enough writing and talking on the subject that you shouldn’t let anyone scoop you as the next Barbara Fister. Send it to School Library Journal.

        Due to your contributions – along with 92 other resources – I was able to write 100 pages of previously unsynthesized information updating the conversation that hasn’ been professionally contributed to since 2013. Yet many of my sources simplified information from 2013 forward through masters school work (papers and collective websites). However, your 2017 post on what you’re currently doing is the latest in the conversation.

        School libraries are still successfully genrefying as a trend as recently as August of 2016. And I could not find a single record of genrefication failure withthe exception of a public library that didn’t communicate with it’s highly educated populace prior to attempting a hybrid (Nyack Library in 2011-13). I’ve not found any in school libraries, which is your area of expertise.

        My 100 pages exceed my graduation requirements are not academically written so it won’t be published right now. I’ve had to reduce it to just talking about the variations of genrfication because the conversation lacks terminology leading to unnecessary amounts of debate.

        I can forward you the bibliography if you like but the woman you might want to talk to is Suzanne Sannwald. Her Genrefication infosite is awesome:

        Once the available unsynthesized data is published professionally, I truly think it will end the current debate among school and public libraries concerning DDC for children specifically because the unquestionable data of success is there.

        Best of luck to you. And congratulations on your new(ish) position.

  6. Hi, Ms. Tiffany!

    I know it’s been a while but I thought you might like to see the final product of my genrefication research.

    Below is a link to my published master’s paper:
    It includes the previously mentioned bibliography.

    I thought you might be interested because it combines most of what I could find into a useful introduction to the topic of genrefication. Although it’s too late to alter now, I’d love any feedback you’d be willing to offer – especially if I was mistaken or its too convoluted. if you’re interested in reviewing it. I still intend to formalize this research and publish it professionally unless you would prefer first dibs but that is further down the road than previously expected.

    Thank you so much for all of your ideas and your willingness to explore new or different ideas. I especially appreciate how you share what you’ve learn.

    Have a blessed day!

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