I have been the librarian at Tibbott School for 11 years and the week before Winter Break I finally had an ah-ha moment about my library carts. I have seen many carts labeled in my years as a librarian but I couldn't figure out how to adapt them to work for me.... until the week before Winter Break!
I have three carts in the library where the students place their books after they check in. Up until last week, they placed them wherever they wanted, and it has worked fine until the week before Winter Break. Now as they check in their books they need to pay attention to the spine stickers to place their book on the appropriate cart and shelf. This is a process that is going to take some time to master. However, in the two weeks since I changed how my carts work, it is working wonderfully! As I'm scanning the books, I talk to the child and we discuss where the books are going to go on the carts. Some of the students have caught on really fast and they tell me as I'm scanning, and some students need a bit more practice, so I send them to the cart with one book at a time. Are the students going to place their books on the cart perfectly every time? Nope, and that is ok because a majority of the books will be on the cart in the right place and it will still cut down on the time it takes to shelve the books drastically.
Why change now?
It is simple, I finally found a method of placing the books on the carts that makes sense for my library. This year I have my mom helping me in the library. For the first time in many years I don't feel like I'm drowning. There were days before my mom came to volunteer when I just couldn't keep up with the shelving and books would "spill" on to tables or my desk. My priority is ALWAYS working with students. Somedays I had so many extra activities planned with classes that I didn't leave time to shelve, and that "worked" for me. Now that I have her helping me in the library twice a week, there is actually time to take on special projects like genrefying the fiction section and making over the Spanish section. In order to free up even more of our time, I've changed the way the carts work to make shelving EASIER & FASTER! Since changing the way the carts work, the amount of book we can shelve in a short amount of time has DRASTICALLY grown. Instead of looking through 3 full carts to sort out one type of book, we just grab books from the cart and walk to the correct shelf because they are already sorted on the cart and are ready to be put away. In addition, this makes it easier for a child searching for a book that the computer says is in the library but isn't on the shelf. Again, instead of trying to look through 3 full carts of books, we just need to look at one shelf on the cart to see if it is there.
This is the fiction cart. It is a "browsing" cart and each bin is labeled with a genre. This cart also includes a bin for easier chapter books and one for favorite characters. The colored stickers on the signs correlate with the colored stickers on the spines of the books.
This is the non-fiction cart. There are 6 shelves on the cart. This is how I split up the 6 shelves:
This picture was taken on a Friday before I left for the weekend. I have NEVER had such a clean cart at the end of the week!!
The third cart is for picture books and Spanish books. One side is for picture books and one side is for Spanish books. There are signs with arrows to help the students place their books appropriately. I will take a picture of it and add it soon!
The two carts that are "traditional" library carts have a bookend on each shelf to help keep the books from falling over.