North Liberty Librarians Visit LISSO Meeting

North Liberty Librarians Visit LISSO Meeting

At Monday's LISSO meeting we enjoyed a guest visit from Dee Crowner, the Library Director at the North Liberty Public Library and Jennie Garner, the Assistant Director at the North Liberty Public Library. They spoke mainly about how the North Liberty Public Library has recently changed their collection organization from the Dewey Decimal System to their own subject based system. "Dewey is subject based, though it is kind of scattered," Crowner pointed out. Their goal with the reorganization was to bring all similar subjects closer together instead of spread out along the Dewey number line as they had been.

The library has been open open during the switch, as the goal of the reorganization is to make their collection as accessible to their patrons as possible. They've had one or two complaints, but they said that most patrons didn't seem to notice the switch. This includes the new spine labels that are color coded by subject and printed with a larger font to increase readability. The library has experienced increased activity in the areas that have already been reorganized, a good sign that the reorganization is working. "Activity has skyrocketed in the areas that have been reorganized by subject," Garner noted. As for people not being able to find books with the new system? "Lots of people who can't find things in bookstores are librarians," Garner jokes, pointing out that a more clearly subject based system is more accessible to the average library patron.

Since their collection is now more non-linear, they have been able to re-arrange the collection to draw attention to areas that had previously been forgotten. Garner points out, "We had a collection of architecture books that were never checked out. Now they're checked out at least once a month." They've also taken their audio book collection, which was another rarely used part of the collection, and put it on the end caps of the shelves that hold the print versions of the same books. Their activity has increased as well.

In addition to reorganization, they've also taken all of their print reference material and replaced them with digital references  to increase available shelf space. "Times change—you try to adjust with the times," said Crowner. While they expected a backlash for this digital move, they said that no one seems to have noticed the encyclopedias are gone. Their goal is for the transition from Dewey to Dewey-less to be completed by the end of the year.

To current Library and Information Science students, Crowner offered this advice: "I would recommend that you join an organization." She added, "And going out to volunteer somewhere will look really good on your resume." She then extended an invitation to all current students to come and volunteer at the North Liberty Public Library. Garner added that they are currently looking for more popular Spanish speaking materials, so any help with that would be welcome.