Dueling Systems: Why theBookstore Model of LibraryClassification Beat Out theDewey Decimal System in anElementary School LibraryHolli Buchter, St. Vrain Valley School DistrictAmerican Library Assn Conference, June 23, 2012
Background In 2009, Anythink Public Libraries changed their organization of resources from the Dewey Decimal System to a Word Based Classification system based on BISAC(Book Industry Standards and Communication) In 2010, representatives St. Vrain Valley School District toured the Wrights Farm branch. Based on this visit, the decision was made to pilot this type at our newest elementary school, Red Hawk that would open in the fall of 2011.
Facts about Red Hawk Only dual curriculum school in St. Vrain-Standard SVVSD curriculum and Core Knowledge Environmentally friendly school Award winning “movement” physical exercise program Innovative library empowers students
Red Hawk’s Classification System Adapted from the bookstore model used by Anythink Public Libraries Entirely Word Based First elementary school library of its kind in the United States (not a hybrid, DDC eliminated from the catalog entries, completely) Unique cataloging and classification grid created for this project
Mackin Educational Resources Mackin was the only vendor willing to take on this innovative, ground breaking project. It involved: Breaking down mental barriers-Mackin rarely says No. Modifying processes in nearly every dept. Transforming the thinking of many staff members concerning classification and cataloging-almost like learning a foreign language. You could not try to translate into Dewey.
Mackin (cont.) Allocating 3 months to assemble and pack the $90,000.00 order. A typical Mackin order takes 45 days. Allocating programming resources-3 full time programmers were assigned to this project. A normal project had 0 programmer allocations. This project had over 100 lists on Mackin.com. This generated 250 sets. A normal opening day collection has 1-10 sets.
St. Vrain Valley School District-Inventing the Wheel Our challenges: Transforming our thinking. Until that visit to Anythink Public Libraries, we were a Dewey institution. Creating the grid to be used by Mackin-BISAC would not work and neither would Anythink’s or Maricopa’s. Our grid HAD to match curriculum needs. Classifying over by 6000 titles manually. Took about 750- 1000 hours. (Mackin literally checked in on me every three days if they had not heard from me)
Advantages to this type ofsystem Empowers students to be indepenent searchers and users of information Reduces work load of librarian Shelving nonfiction is no longer feared by non- librarians
The Data!In anticipation of the potential impact of this project on theschool library community, I collected baseline checkoutstatistical data on my test group, students enrolled in theErie feeder system in 4th grade in the 2010-2011 schoolyear. This consisted at the time of two schools, ErieElementary and Black Rock Elementary. I followed thesesame students as 5th graders when Red Hawk Elementaryopened their library with the bookstore model in the 2011-2012 school year.
Fiction Check Out Data Shows…. 11 different genres exist in the bookstore model used at Red Hawk Elementary School. Black Rock and Erie students experienced approximately the same number of checkouts in both years in the same categories both years. Students in both schools checked out the majority of books in the Fantasy Genre Red Hawk students experienced an increase of 372 checkouts with the highest percentage in the Realistic Fiction genre.Conclusions: Red Hawk students are checking out books in a variety of genres. Red Hawk students who did not check out books from the library as 4th graders are now able to find the books of interest to them. This model of classification and organization transformed the value of the library to these students.
Non Fiction Check Out Data: Erie Elementary students checked out 140 less nonfiction books as 5th graders then they did as 4th graders Black Rock Elementary School students checked out 328 less nonfiction books as 5th graders than they did as 4th graders. Red Hawk Elementary School students checked out 422 more nonfiction books as 5th graders than they did as 4th graders. 61% of all books checked out by Red Hawk students were nonfiction. Black Rock students checked out 39% nonfiction and Erie Elementary checked out 46% nonfiction. Red Hawk matched the best practice guideline for the collection. (60% of the collection consists of non-fiction materials)
Non Fiction Check OutConclusions:Red Hawk students find a word based nonfiction sectioneasier to navigate than the Dewey Decimal System. Forexample, if the teacher or student needs nonfictionresources on an environmental problem like oil spills, theteacher or student would need to locate materials in aDewey library in the following categories: 363 (history of oilspills), 639 (effects on animals), 628 (how they occur), and507 (experiments). In the bookstore model, all of thesebooks are located together under the Environmentalsection. This saves the time of the student, teacher andlibrarian.
What the Data Does Not Show Red Hawk students are making smooth transitions between print resources and Internet Resources Red Hawk students are making connections between fiction and nonfiction materials. If they checked out a science fiction book, they are checking out corresponding nonfiction resources at the same time. These students are making smooth transitions between picture books and fiction books. Students as young as Kindergarten are self-directed and empowered to find resources without the need of an adult- this frees up the time of the Teacher Librarian for other library related duties.
Cont. Kindergarten students prefer nonfiction materials to picture books at a ratio of 9 to 1. 100% of the staff prefer this type of library to a Dewey library. The on-line catalog is only used to look up a specific title. It is not needed for students and staff to browse the collection. Shelving the returned books takes a third less time than a traditional Dewey library saving the time of the librarian that can be spent on co-teaching and collaboration with other school staff.