Posted in Cataloging, Collection Development, Poetry

Poetry on the Move

We’re trying something crazy and new at my library: we’ve broken poetry books out of the 800’s nonfiction! Is that crazy? Is it new? Well, when asked in an informal Facebook poll on the Library Think Tank group, 114 people responded that at their libraries, poetry is still in nonfiction. Two said they have a separate section. So…maybe?

Libraries that have completely ditched Dewey could say, though, that their poetry has its own section. We’re not going that far. My catalogers would revolt. But they are up for trying this new home for poetry, especially since the way we’ve chosen to do it didn’t cause a ton of work. It was actually accomplished in less than a few hours!

First, why are we doing this?
Our selector for the adult collection has long wanted to better highlight poetry, and he thought breaking it out of the 800’s would accomplish that. When he brought it up about a year and a half ago, we weren’t quite ready for it. However, we came up with a compromise and added purple labels above the spine labels so they would stand out better on the shelves.

Earlier this year, we visited the offices of Andrews McMeel, a publishing company based in Kansas City that specializes in poetry. You may be familiar with their best seller, Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. They said poetry is kind of having a moment and libraries could take advantage. That got us thinking again.

Dewey, or don’t we?
When our selector suggested phasing out our MP3 audiobook collection, he brought up breaking out poetry again. Since we’d have the space, we thought why not? But part of the discussion was whether we would keep poetry organized by Dewey or relabel the books and shelve them by the last name of the poet, like in fiction.

We had arguments for both. People who just want to browse poetry or are looking for a particular poet might find it easier if everything was under the poet’s name. Dewey, however, provides extra organization, breaking the collection into geographic regions and time periods. But wouldn’t it be confusing to have this random Dewey-organized section outside of the nonfiction stacks?

Ultimately, it was the fact that we’ve broken other collections out and then later refiled them in the past that helped make the decision. If, say, five or ten years down the line, a new selector or collection management team wants to refile poetry back into the 800s, it would be much easier if we keep the Dewey. So we did.

A quick and easy move
Since we already had the purple poetry labels on the books and we opted to stick with Dewey, we weren’t going to have to do another relabeling project. It would just be an easy update in the ILS using a global item modification wizard where you can quickly update location and classification codes.

We pulled all available books with poetry labels off the shelves, scanned them through for the update, and shelved them in the new location. Then our cataloging librarian used the new location and classification to single out and export the MARC records, edited the local call numbers with MarcEdit, and overlaid the edited records with a special report that also updated the item call numbers.

For everything that’s currently checked out, our Materials Handling team will send down any item our sorter doesn’t send to the proper bin, and a cataloger will manually update the location, classification and call number.

Here’s to the road less traveled
So far, at least on the Facebook and Twitter posts announcing the move, we’ve had a positive response. But that’s just social media. I’m sure we’ll get some feedback once our poetry regulars wander into the stacks where it used to be and realize things aren’t as they once were. We’ll just have to wait and see!

Posted in Library Marketing

My Go-to Library Tweets

About eight years ago, I was asked to help run my library’s Twitter account. We didn’t have designated marketing staff, we were just starting to build our presence on social media, and I had no idea where to start. Thankfully I was working with a brilliant fellow librarian turned marketing guru who taught me a few things.

Now with eight years of Tweeting for libraries on top of maintaining a personal Twitter account and a quasi-famous librarian parody account under my belt…I still can’t claim to be a pro. However, over time I have come to mostly recognize what works and what works not so well when promoting your library’s resources and services on Twitter.

That being said, here are my go-to’s for Tweeting for my library:

Tweet about books (and other materials) you and your coworkers love
Twitter is great for marketing the materials in your collection, and adding a personal touch will help it go that much further. Patrons love staff picks and recommendations from librarians. #FridayReads, #WeekendReads and #whatareyoureading are all fun hashtags that you can use with these tweets, or you could start one that’s specific to your library (i.e. #LPLstaffpicks) so you can easily curate a list of picks exclusive to your library.

Tweet @ authors
If you’re sharing a staff pick of a book and the author is on Twitter, tag them! Most authors love to know that their books are in libraries and that librarians are loving, promoting and supporting their work. And they might just respond. Even if it is just a like, it’s a wonderful feeling!

Tweet links to bookish web content
Does your library have a blog? Easy Twitter fodder! No? Book Riot, Buzzfeed, Read Brightly — there are tons of popular bookish blogs and websites out there. If you are strapped for time and can’t create content, these sites produce perfect articles and lists to share daily. And it’s OKAY to share other libraries’ blog posts too! You’re helping your patrons discover new books they could come back to you to get.

These are just a few of the blogs and websites I’ve got bookmarked:

Tip: Tweets with images tend to get the most engagement. Most of the time, Twitter will pull a featured image from a website when you share a link. I like to test a link by pasting the URL in the mobile Twitter app, because it will load a featured image while you’re composing the Tweet. If it doesn’t, I’d recommend finding and attaching a relevant image.

Tweet @ other libraries and bookish accounts
Especially if you’re sharing their content, it’s great to tag other libraries and bookish accounts. They may like, reply to or retweet your post, which will increase your reach. Also, interact by replying to, liking and retweeting content. This is the number one way to build a following!

Tweet @ local businesses, organizations, and groups
Just like with other libraries and bookish accounts, it’s great to interact with businesses, organizations and groups in your community by sharing, liking and retweeting them. This helps your reach, helps you stay aware of what’s happening in your community, and helps your library in its goal of connecting people with resources in your community.

Tip: If you or your library administrators are concerned about promoting/endorsing businesses and organizations as a public institution, consider developing a policy stating that Tweets aren’t endorsements or other guidelines on what’s acceptable.