Thanks to our Library Director, H. Maria Sysak for supporting the rearrangement of our extensive periodicals collection using subject headings modeled on BISAC, and to Edward Daly, Periodicals Librarian, for devising the headings and doing the physical work of rearranging the entire collection. It was truly a team effort.
Here’s the doorway to the Baldwin Public Library’s NewBook Gallery, a long, narrow room containing various new book collections, daily and weekly newspapers, mass-market paperbacks and over 220 circulating magazines and periodicals.
Formerly, magazines and periodicals were shelved alphabetically, by title, on a display wall spanning more than 70 linear feet. Someone interested in “Better Homes & Gardens” would walk a considerable distance to then find “Victorian Homes”. Under the new arrangement, these magazines are grouped together under “Food, Garden & Home”.
Initially, we considered re-classifying the new book collection using BISAC headings. We made a field trip to a neighboring library to see a new book collection arranged by BISAC. Their collection was much smaller than ours.
With approximately 3,000 books in Baldwin Library’s New Book Gallery, we determined that re-classifying the new books would be an enormous undertaking. New book processing routines would have to be devised. Clerks and pages would need training in the new classification and shelving scheme.
New books are labeled and shelved by genre: fiction, mystery, large type, biography, non-fiction and express. After 12 months, books are reclassified for 28 day loans, spine labels are removed and the books are moved to the permanent collection elsewhere in the library. The system works smoothly since the OPAC clearly identifies books shelved in the “new” section.
A mixture of display and conventional shelving is used in the New Book Gallery. It seemed a BISAC arrangement wouldn’t provide any advantages for a collection that’s already shelved by genre and displayed face-out.
We reported our findings to the Library Director, who suggested we do a BISAC arrangement of the periodicals rather than rearrange the new books. We turned our attention to the periodicals and set out to rearrange them, instead. Because the newspapers are shelved flat, they weren’t included in the project – they’re still shelved alphabetically after the magazines.
The Book Industry Study Group makes their BISAC subject headings available on their website. The 50 major categories can form the basis for a subject reclassification of any collection. These headings are the industry standard for booksellers, and are becoming popular in libraries that want to want to adapt retail practices to a library setting.
We combined several BISAC headings with some original ones, to create 13 BISAC-style subject headings for our periodicals collection. For a large magazine collection like ours, these subject headings made sense. We decided to go ahead with the project to reclassify the periodicals. If necessary, subject categories could be modified later.
Here’s a typical sign showing one of our new BISAC-style subject headings. The signage was produced in-house by our graphics person.
The BISAC-style classifications are arranged alphabeticallyalong the display wall, by the first word in the category. “Cars, Boats & Sports” for example, comes before “Computers, Science & Technology”.
“Consumer & General Interest” contains an interesting mix of titles. We customized some subjects to suit our particular collection, and you can, too.
To ease the transition for our patrons, alphabetical listings of periodicals and BISAC categories were displayed with the collection. The clerks and pages also use this listing. Most patrons adapted very quickly to the new arrangement.
Periodicals check-in is still done the old-fashioned way – using a flat file, alphabetically arranged by title. It’s simple and easy.
Theclerks have added unobtrusive dots to the shelf labels and magazine folders for each BISAC category, so shelving current issues is easy.
These dots helped the clerks make the transition and also help the pages to return magazines to the shelves.
Here’s what the display looks like with signage, magazines and master list displayed nearby. Our patrons adapted to the new arrangement very quickly and are pleased to “discover” new titles that they didn’t know about. Magazine circulation is up, too. The project was easy to do and cost nothing. Try it at your library!
Periodicals Arrangement using BISAC
Periodicals Arrangementusing BISAC-StyleSubject Headings<br />Presented by<br />Marianne G. Kobbe<br />Head of Reference & Adult Services,<br />Baldwin Public Library<br />Fall, 2010<br />