Director’s Thoughts #10 – Shifting Collections

1 Jul

directors

After you weed the entire collection… what do you do next?

That was my question, after spending 5 months and countless hours running reports, scanning, stamping and sorting books. The next step for us…. shifting the collection. Although tight, our children’s department had a lot more wiggle room at the end of this process and not as much needed to be shifted, but in our adult department, space is still at a premium, so I went to work.

We first mapped out what we wanted tot do – redefine our space for nonfiction by tightening up the collection and moving it toward the back of the library. This collection although still gets some use, it’s got nothing on our audio collection and fiction collection – prime space for collections that hold their weight in circulation. So first the nonfiction was shifted, it wasn’t an easy task, but with a staff that’s, how should I put this delicately?, advanced in age and some have lower back issues – I did the majority of the moving. I just spent a little time each day and it took me about 5 weeks. And man, does it look good! Everything is nice and neat, new aisle labels and everything! Next up, was audiobooks and Playaways, two collections that are heavily used in our library and had grow out of their current space – these two collections were shifted to better use space and were also better organized.

Now, I’m on to fiction and after that Large Print – these two collections are jam packed in some areas, have empty shelves in other areas and overall are a hot mess. We actually gained shelving after all the other shifting has been done, so I’m hoping to give each shelf some wiggle room for additional material that we purchase.

Shifting is an interesting beast – I’ve never quite figured out how to shift just once. I always end up shifting the collection and then going back and shifting it again to get it just right. I can’t figure out an easier way (without getting super math-y), but I love the way it looks when we finish, so it’s all worth.  And hopefully, it will be easier for our patrons to find material and pull it from the shelves too!

Although we weeded about 20,000 items, it really only gave us the wiggle room necessary for our current collection. It didn’t gain as much space as we need as I keep pointing out – we’re adding more than we’re getting rid of, so that’s a problem. But, we hope to keep up with our weeding but following a strict monthly schedule in the hopes of preventing our collection from getting out of hand, but soon… we’ll just need more space, which is whole different conversation!

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