In the weeds

I went to an excellent Connecticut State Library workshop yesterday. Weeding in the Garden of Good and Evil was presented by Mary Engels (from the Middletown Library Service Center) and Linda Williams (from the Willimantic Library Service Center).  These two ladies have presented this workshop many times before, but this was the first chance I’ve had to attend (well, that I could actually justify).

 “Our approach to weeding is that it isn’t the irresponsible disposal of the library’s property, but rather a part of the public service to borrowers, that of maintaining the best possible collection for the community.”

We are facing the daunting task of weeding our non-fiction collection, starting this year, and with all three librarians and four out of five staff members being new in the last twelve months or so, I was a little apprehensive about weeding in a collection that most of us really don’t know well.

I feel I learned some very good strategies from the workshop and will be able to make the case for a comprehensive collection development policy which also spells out our weeding policy.  Armed with my new CREW Method booklet, I think we’ll be able to work together to decide on criteria and a procedure for getting the job done.

It’s almost always colder up in the stacks on the second floor, so I’m swatching for “In the Weeds”:
Pattern: Goodale
By: Cecily Glowik MacDonald
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Tonos Pima Silk (cotton silk blend)
Colourway: 25 Truffle

This should be a nice, lightweight but warm cotton cardigan to wear in the fall and the spring.  The colour is a fabulous muted blend of browns & grays veering almost to full black in places so it should be versatile enough to go with most things.  The yarn is as soft as butter and knits up beautifully.

bad …

… blogger … somewhat bad knitter.

Life got busy with a new job and somehow 6 months or so just flew by.  The new job is great, but I just haven’t had the mental energy to keep up with everything.  One of my goals for the new year is to get a little balance back into my life.

Knitting suffered a bit too.  My goal of 11 in 11 (pairs of socks and cabled things) was just barely achieved and only with a little fudging.  One “pair” of socks were these tiny ones …

 tiny socks

Some of the socks were cabled, so they counted for both.  Not exactly what I had in mind initially, but still not too bad.

Some of the socks did double duty on the design front too.  I’m working on two separate cable patterns:

Hugs & Kisses:

hugs and kisses socks

and Manly Hugs:

manly hugs mitts

I’m hoping to have patterns written up and published for mitts and socks for both by the middle of January.  Eventually, I’d like to add a toe-up version to the sock patterns too.

reorganizing fiction … done!

This week I finally finished this huge project. I’m thrilled with how wonderful it looks and it already seems to be appealing to both our regular and our reluctant readers.

fiction by genre adventure

I asked a student yesterday if she liked the new arrangement:

“Yes, it’s a lot easier to find what I want.”

Another student, when I showed her the Sci-Fi-Fantasy section:

“Oh, these are my books …”

She was down there for about 15 minutes because there were “so many good books to choose from.”

fiction by genre horror

And, from my boss:

“Anything that makes their lives easier makes our lives easier.”

fiction by genre sportsGoals achieved:

  • Entire fiction section weeded
  • Genre stickers added to all relevant books
  • Books needing repair identified, pulled, and repaired
  • Books in need of replacement identified


  • Classics identified and put in a resource list (stickers will be added by our student aide) – 10th graders are required to read a “classic” 2nd semester and the hunt to identify an appealing one has always been horrible
  • Terrible collection of (mostly) outdated and unused VHS tapes ruthlessly weeded – we needed the space to extend the “regular” fiction section
  • Short story and biography collections gained a little bit of much needed space
  • Display space also gained for short story and biography collections
  • I improved my upper arm muscle tone – I must have moved some sections of fiction about 10 times in an effort to minimize disruption once we started breaking out the genre sections ;)

We have some more signage to take care of next, but this is basically done!

Circulation statistics will be watched closely for the next few months … I’m betting they go up for fiction.

reorganizing fiction …

. . . by genre.

This is our big project at work for the school year, and I’m coordinating it.

Yes, we’ve thought about the messiness and time involved, but I have a plan to make it as smooth as possible.  Right now, I’m working backwards through the fiction section, weeding, adding genre stickers, and changing the call numbers in the collection.  We use an external MARC editor (MARC Magician) to tidy up catalog records, so I’m working on the records in that program and I won’t import them back in until I’m all the way through.  That should minimize kids’ confusion with different call numbers in the catalog.  It’s also freeing up shelf space (I don’t know how long it’s been since fiction was last weeded, but I’ve been here 10 years and it hasn’t been done in that time – so we’re really being quite ruthless).

We’ve decided to be arbitrary about books that fall into more than one category.  We’re going to go with which one we think they’d have the most appeal in.  The catalog record will still reflect the different genres too.  Authors who write more than one genre will be separated, but we’re hoping that might actually cause kids to move outside their comfort zones occasionally.

We’ve agonized about continuing to keep new fiction separate, as we’ve been doing for the last few years, but we’ve decided to try not having a dedicated section.  We’ll have enough shelf space at the top of each section for displaying books within that genre, so we’ll still be able to “feature” new fiction that way.

At this point, I’m about halfway through the fiction collection.  I started in the Zs and I’m working backwards so that by the time I get to the As I will have created some free space at the beginning of the fiction shelving to put the first genre.

The genres we’ll be breaking out are:

  • Action & Adventure: comprising adventure, war stories, and westerns
  • Historical fiction
  • Horror
  • Mystery
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy (including fractured fairy tales)
  • Sports

We’ve been back and forth in the debate about separating out Romance fiction, but we’ve decided not to.  We think the negative connotations might outweigh any benefits.

All the rest of fiction will fit in the remaining shelving at the end of the genres sections.  The layout of the room should be conducive to this, we hope!