I'm not out to convert anybody, but to share the story of my conversion.
Let's talk about bins. Specifically bins for picture books. The kind where the books are all standing forward with the covers facing out.
I hated them.
When I started my new job I was really annoyed to find that all the libraries in the system used them. "How do you find things for the pull list?" "They aren't in order! How do you keep them in order?!" I thought it was such a disservice to users; not having things in order or easy to find. I was seriously disgruntled that I would have to deal with picture book bins. It went against every fiber of my organized librarian being.
At my old job I supervised both the library clerks and library pages. They all hated the picture books. They hated shelving them, and they REALLY hated shelf-reading them. But they needed to be shelf-read all.the.time so I was constantly dealing with push-back on picture book maintenance. If only those darn kids would just keep their little hands off the books so they'd stay in order.
Here's what I've learned/seen with bins:
- With bins, every single bin is a display. And the best part? They are self-filling displays! If the front book gets chosen the next book proudly stands forth. No glaring empty spot in sight. There are also bins with cool little display platforms.
- Not every collection benefits from strict alphabetical order. The majority of use picture books receive is from browsers. Making the collection easier to browse is better service. Yes, it might be slightly more inconvenient to a student or someone looking for specific books...but I spent a lot of time helping people find specific books that were supposedly in order with traditional shelving too. Managed chaos is the nature of the kids area. I'm embracing it.
- Apparently (before my time) every single library in my system increased circ on picture books after bins were installed. Kids and families love them, and increased circ is something I can definitely get behind.
- Not only are they perfect kid height, and high in kid appeal, I can find things faster too. It's much quicker and more accurate for me personally to flip through covers (while standing) than to read call numbers (while kneeling on the floor). I rarely miss the book I'm looking for this way, which I would often do when scanning call numbers. The covers and art are generally much more recognizable to me. With bins, I give faster, better, more accurate service to patrons when helping them find books.
- The department stays much tidier with bins. No more facing shelves and making sure all the spines line up. No more tipped bookends.
- I seriously wish I could go back in time and change my old library over to bins; it would have been a great fit at that little library. Page and clerk staff at my new library also prefer the bins, so they're happier too.
Here are some other libraries using bins:
Brown Public Library, Northfield, VT
Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL
North Community Library, LaCrosse, WI
All that being said? The DVDs are only in order as far as the first letter, and then it's a free-for-all. Drives.me.CRAZY.