How to Weed: Non Fiction Collection in the Elementary Learning Commons

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At a time when instant information is available on line, it is more important than ever that non-fiction materials remain current and meaningful and reflect the needs of the community of readers. eBooks, on-line data bases, internet sources are a valuable tool and enhance the use of print materials. We’ve all had the satisfaction of circulating quality non-fiction books to interested students. The pleasure on the student’s face simply cannot be replicated by through the recommendation of a good website. There will always be a demand for good quality, useful hard copy sources.

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How to Weed: Non Fiction Collection in the Elementary Learning Commons

  1. 1. The Elementary Learning Commons Non-Fiction Print Collection Anna Crosland Teacher Librarian Georges Vanier Elementary SD 36 Surrey, B.C. @crosland_a
  2. 2. The Vanier Learning Commons offers our whole school community easy access and a welcoming space Before Daily open book exchanges. Lowered shelving. High interest displays. Rotating Learning Commons themes expose students to a wide variety of non-fiction topics Incorporates technology to promote a love of reading through 1:1 iPad use After
  3. 3. If you want students to read...you have to weed. If a book is 5 years old and ‘looks like new’ that’s because no one has ever used it. Good condition is not a reason to keep a book. Shelf space is valuable and must be earned.
  4. 4. If you want students to read...you have to weed. It’s easier to weed a book bought by a previous librarian. We make our collection decisions with care and have a vested interest in their circulation. But mistakes happen, if you bought a book you were sure they’d love and, despite best efforts, no one ever takes it out, let it go.
  5. 5. If you want students to read...you have to weed. There are many webpages with guidelines on acceptable publication dates to justify keeping a book, but ultimately the decision is yours. Look at the needs of your school community. If in doubt, weed it.
  6. 6. If you want students to read...you have to weed. Once a book starts to fall apart, weigh the pros and cons of repairing it. Is it worth investing the time on a older book that will doubtless continue to deteriorate? Once you’ve taped it to death will a student want to take it out anyway? Is there a newer title that better suits the vision of the Learning Commons?
  7. 7. If you want students to read...you have to weed. *Better to have 20 books that kids want to read, that they can easily find, than 100 that no one ever looks at. We don’t leave stale milk in the fridge to make the fridge look full. Don’t leave a reject book on the shelf for the same reason. No one is ever going to use it and it takes up space better used for something else. Just because a book is your only print source on dinosaurs, if it’s dated and uninspiring, it still will not get used. Students will either go on-line for information or decide to switch topics. Weed it.
  8. 8. If you want students to read...make it high . interest. One book about snakes, even with details on the kind that paralyze you in an instant, is not the same as the next. Our limited shelf space means that a source must be of current curricular significance or a breathtakingly high interest topic. Ideally these two would be the same thing. The book must be dripping in rich and exuberant text features.
  9. 9. If you want students to read...make it high . interest. So, here’s what I’m trying to avoid in the Vanier LC: -dated, slightly sepia tone illustrations -full pages of text -minimal or uninspired text features -reading levels that limit the audience -copyright 1991 (how did I miss this during my last weed?) LeVert, Suzanne, and Pierre Berton. Canada in the 21st Century. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 1991.
  10. 10. If you want students to read...make it high . interest. Again, no text features, dated look and feel. Meteoroids have got to be more interesting than this... Branley, Franklyn Mansfield, and Holly Keller. Shooting Stars. New York: Crowell, 1989.
  11. 11. If you want students to read...make it high . interest. -uninspired illustrations Consider country books carefully. By their nature, they are out of date the moment they are published. Bickman, Connie. Children of Tanzania. Edina, MN: Abdo & Daughters, 1996. Print. -full pages of text -minimal text features -copyright 1996 (Again, missed this during my last weed)
  12. 12. If you want students to read...make it high . interest. Instead, how about titles like this? (Anything with ‘Not-For-Parents’ in the title has got to be good right?) -uninspired illustrations -current and historical country information -high interest information and graphics -love these text features DuBois, Michael, Katri Hilden, and Jane Price. Not for Parents: The Travel Book. Footscray, Vic.: Lonely Planet Publications, 2011.
  13. 13. If you want students to read...make it high . interest. Or this? Avery, Annabel. India. Collingwood, ON: Saunders Book, 2012.
  14. 14. If you want students to read...make it high . interest. And who wouldn’t want to curl up with these... Dakota, Heather. Fangs! New York, NY: Tangerine/Scholastic, 2007. -with bonus lenticular design. Don’t tell me students don’t judge a book by it’s cover
  15. 15. If you want students to read...make it high . interest. Bring history to life... ‘Dolphin for dinner’ is going to generate some discussion Dixon, Philip. Knights & Castles. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2007.
  16. 16. If you want students to read...make it high . interest. Bédoyère, Camilla De La. Acorn to Oak Tree. London: QED, 2012. Bédoyère, Camilla De La. Ocean Life. Mankato, MN: QEB Pub., 2012. Mason, Paul. Tsunamis. Mankato, MN: Smart Apple Media, 2012. Regan, Lisa, and Matt Anniss. Being a DJ. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2013.
  17. 17. Other considerations: ❖ Encyclopedias* have no place in the Vanier LC. They are most useful as doorstops...and even then... In fact, an elementary reference section could be either incorporated or weeded. ❖ Non-Fiction books are not cheap. There’s no way around it. I have two book fairs each year and a supportive administration. ❖ At a time when instant information is available on line, it is more important than ever that non-fiction materials remain current and meaningful and reflect the needs of the community of readers. eBooks, on-line data bases, internet sources are a valuable tool and enhance the use of print materials. We’ve all had the satisfaction of circulating quality non-fiction books to interested students. The pleasure on the student’s face simply cannot be replicated by through the recommendation of a good website. There will always be a demand for good quality, useful hard copy sources. *SD36 subscribes to updated, interactive on-line resources Anna Crosland Teacher Librarian Georges Vanier Elementary SD 36 Surrey, B.C. @crosland_a

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