Our lively discussion today covered several series books that we have touched on before – maybe a few times!
Erin Hunter and Kathryn Lasky are prolific authors who have both written several series for elementary and middle school students. Most of their series books are about animals – owls, cats, horses, wolves, bears, dogs, and maybe even spiders.
We all agreed that these books are not simple animal stories. Deciding between the Fantasy and Adventure categories was not as simple though. It’s taken several discussions and much reading of reviews and rehashing the characters and plots to come to a conclusion: we put most of the Lasky books in the Fantasy category because they have more world-building and fantasy elements. The series by Hunter were put mostly in the Adventure category.
What a lively discussion we had today! I had missed the previous discussion on the Kathryn Lasky and Erin Hunter series, all centered around animals. There were still discrepancies in the catalog as to whether they belonged in animal, adventure, or fantasy. The Brian Jacques Redwall series, another animal based series, is definitely fantasy since the characters wear clothes, carry swords, etc. It was decided that the Guardians of Ga’hoole series is fantasy since there are magical elements to the story although the owls do very owl like things. The Seekers series is also fantasy, but The Warriors is animal since it has more typical animal behavior with the story interactions involving wild cats and domestic cats. The Escape, a new series by Kathryn Lasky, will be classified as adventure. We discussed the possibility of it being animal, but decided that the story seems to fit adventure and without knowing what direction the subsequent books will take, more realistic or less realistic, the classification of adventure seems the most appropriate. The resolutions for all of these series and those others written by Lasky and Hunter are in Google Drive under BCS Title Discrepancies.
It is so helpful to have everyone together to talk about those titles we’re on the fence about. I really am enjoying the process!
Tonight I am continuing to convert the correct call number in the catalog. It is a daunting task that I am finally starting to feel some reward in the completion. There is still along way to go but progress is becoming a happy word.
We continue to have conversations around sets of books that have different categories at different schools. Is it adventure or is it animal, no really it is fantasy! Many of the ones in question revolve around different animals, be it dogs, horses, bears or owls. Gahoole will always be a fantastical place that the adventure begins. We even giggled about if the author ever becomes confused about what happened in which book. It was brought up that laughing ten minutes day can improve your health. I can now state that not only is this conversion process good for our library and the students, it is good for us too!
I ran across a book by Truman Capote today called A Christmas Memory. I was struck by it since another book by Capote called In Cold Blood has been a favorite of mine since I first read it in college.
In Cold Blood is the true crime story of a murder that took place in Kansas in 1959. It was one of the first of a new genre of books, non-fiction written as literature. I remember reading the book and comparing it to magazine articles from the time that covered the murders.
A Christmas Memory shows a different side to the author of In Cold Blood. Based somewhat on Capote’s memories of childhood, the three stories are about a young boy and the preparations he and an older (she is sixty-something) cousin make for the holidays. They gather pecans, buy fruit and illegal whiskey for making fruitcakes, cut down a tree, and hang decorations.
In Cold Blood is the only book by Capote I have read, so seeing this Christmas title in our middle school library surprised me. I’m anxious to sit down with it and explore a wonderful author.
Whew am I glad to be mainly in the Non-Fiction collection! The catalog information is accurately descriptive of the book’s content. The content fits the keyword classifications. Actually, the keyword system works way better than Dewey at keeping similar content books together. Military history, animals, jobs, services, battles, gear, and machinery are all military, not scattered through 300s, 600s, and 900s.
Enter a discrepancy in the fiction collections. Since we are all working together, and there are several schools “done” the cataloging differences are a big problem. We had a fabulous discussion around these series. We shared researching Mackin, Library of Congress, and even Amazon to decipher the correct genre. In the fiction collection the overlap of animals, adventure, mythological or mystical elements, and fantasy make categorizing, well, interesting. Despite the seeming brain-damage involved, the passion my co-workers bring to this process is so energizing! I love it- and am so glad to be part of this sea change in library use.
I am very close to having the final changes in the catalog from our first collection conversion, so that I can get labels ordered for our Picture Book Collection. Thank you to Patrick and Holli for their teamwork on this part. I have been waiting for the time that I can see the BCS complete and ready to use in our library at Mead Elementary. The time line was altered for several factors out of my control this school year. Now, I am sad that I will not have access to our collection over the summer due to construction. I had hoped to complete the process for all Fiction over the summer. I will have to wait and have my wonderful volunteers come in and work fast and furious at the beginning of August to put labels on and organize. Yes, there is plenty to do this summer without physically putting on new labels and organizing the books into the new areas. I can work on the Nonfiction section and help with the catalog changes for Chapter books. Still my goal is to, at minimum, open the next school year with ALL Fiction titles in the BCS!
I have been working on my science section for the past view meetings. Most of these have been obvious choices. Only the books that seem to combine experiments and projects with the study of the science topics have given me pause. Those titles have required that I actually take a look at the book to determine what seems more prominent. Today I slipped into the 551 dewey category which everyone knows is defined as Geology, hydrology, meteorology. However; these books can actually be divided into books about weather, geography, environment and ecosystems. Two topics that caused me a bit of consternation were about watersheds and watercycles. At first glance, I thought they should be categorized in the same area but WEATHER did not seem right. After checking the definition of ‘watershed’, I discovered this was really a GEOGRAPHIC term. “A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place.” Water cycle is “the cycle of processes by which water circulates between the earth’s oceans, atmosphere, and land, involving precipitation as rain and snow, drainage in streams and rivers, and return to the atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration.” This made my decision clear. Now I will make sure to look up definitions as one of the first steps in this conversion process!
Lots of detail work today!
The fiction re-cataloging is done, but there were lots of little corrections before the final reviews can be done by District Media services. These are now taken care of, and hopefully, the spine labels can be ordered and applied. The books are being shelved by genre so when the labels arrive this final step will go quickly. The students are so excited to see the genre shelving taking shape. It’s already making check-out easier for them.
Also today, I returned to classifying the non-fiction. It’s so interesting to continue in this final section. The ease of check-out in Picture Books and Fiction shows me what to expect when the library is finished. Can’t wait!
Tonight I worked on a pile of miscellaneous oddities which did not seem to shout out obvious locations. That is the kindest way to put it. Luckily, I was the only one here so I was able to work one-on-one with Holli to hash out solutions. My questions were as varied as one could possibly imagine. After the last couple of weeks, I thought I had really nailed down the criteria for the RTR section but once I got back to my school, my doubts started coming out again. I knew that I wanted to put my Usborne Beginners into the RTR NF section because I know my kids and which ones will be likely to search this area of the library. But when I flipped through the books, I was afraid the content was too advanced. We have started a spreadsheet to list the criteria for different collections. Tonight, I discovered a new way to determine my RTRs. Not only is it important to determine the length of a book and the text to picture ratio, it is also important to look at the point size of the font used. I will be sure to update the spreadsheet to add this factor. As Holli puts it, “It’s a process!” and I am happy to be part of the process.
We also had a further discussion of the Magic School Bus Chapter books which are “based on” the Magic School Bus books by Joanna Cole. Big difference apparently! I guess the main thing that I learned about that is to always Trust the MARC Record!
Holli looked at my classification changes on the LYMS grid to approve or change my choices form last week and she had a similar dilemma with Catch 22 that I had. We discussed if it should go in humor – although it’s not laugh out loud funny, in history/war related – although it doesn’t involve any real historical people/settings or just where it should go. A real Catch 22. I felt most comfortable with general fiction and Holli was comfortable with that too so we settled on general fiction.
We discussed the possibility of meeting for our PST over the summer and it sounds as thought we would all like to continue to work on getting our libraries converted as quickly as possible. We’re all anxious to get this part of the process finished so we can move on to relabeling the books and shelving our collections according to genre for our students. Reclassifying titles is interesting and has certainly increased my knowledge of the books we have available. I was pretty familiar with our collection to begin with, but this process has made me even more familiar with the titles that I’ve worked on so far and hopefully will make me a better librarian in the long run. My personal list of books to read is growing with each PST.