Around the Barrow Media Center we “expect the miraculous”. After 15 intense days, dozens of volunteers, ten thousand genre labels and protectors, and lots of weight lifting, our collection of 10,000 books is sorted by genre. When we started this project, I tried to set a realistic goal of being done by Labor Day. However, in my heart, I wanted to be done much sooner for the sake of our readers. Thanks to all of the volunteers from families, the community, and UGA, we took what seemed impossible in this amount of time and made it happen.
When I really thought about it, we are opening just one week later than we usually do in the school year. Week 1 is usually computers and week 2 is library orientations. We’ll be start orientations at the end of week 2 and all of week 3. Pretty miraculous!
The final steps happened this week:
- The genre labels were turned into signs and printed to put into picture frames
- Books continued to be shuffled around on the shelves until they fit in a mostly logical arrangement
- Each genre had to be put into order. Up until this point, we were just sticking the books in their sections in any random order
- The rest of the library had to be put back together from all of our moving around
- Videos had to be made to support volunteers and readers
- Plus lots of other minor housekeeping items
Today, to thank the teachers for their patience, we held a sneak peek of the genrefied library. After school, we had refreshments and a chance to check out the newly organized collection.
Teachers had a chance to get familiar with where things are, check out books, and ask questions. Some even started thinking about their own classroom libraries and how they might mirror the organization of the school library in their classrooms.
I put together a picture scavenger hunt to use with kids, so I put those out for teachers to try as well. My son was in charge of inviting guests to try out the scavenger hunt.
I also asked teachers to post a short Flipgrid video of their reactions to the new organization. It was so much fun to listen to people’s reactions. I had so many compliments in conversations with teachers who visited, but it was great to be able to go back and hear reactions that I missed during the preview.
For their efforts, I had a stack of free books to choose from. My daughter was in charge of inviting people to record and reminding them to pick up their book.
Thank you to every person who helped with this project. It’s so hard to list them all, but I want to give a special thanks to my wife Denise Plemmons for designing some amazing genre stickers and signs. I also want to thank Janice Flory for rounding up a great team of volunteers to hit the ground running on the first day of pre-planning. Some of them stayed for 3-4 hours at a time. Thank you to Gretchen Thomas for bringing in an entire class of UGA students to knock out some of the final pieces of the project. Finally, thank you to my administrators Ellen Sabatini and Jennifer Leahy for believing in our library program and trying something new in the interest of kids and literacy.
Now, it’s time to see what the students think and get our regular volunteers ready to support our readers through keeping the library organized and directing readers to books. The big part of the project is done, but a project like this doesn’t really end. Books will move from section to section if needed and each new order of books will need to be labeled. However, we won’t have to do the project at this magnitude again. Here we go!