Saturday, August 27, 2011

A whole new card catalog

My library was automated about four years ago; in fact, I spent my first week on the job up to eyes in uncataloged reference books, deciding what to keep and what (like the encyclopedia set from 1981) was not worth keeping.

In moving the library collection out of temporary storage and into the newly renovated space, the old card catalog got left behind. I would see it every once in a while, and kept thinking I should grab it, but it wasn't until last year when they were doing some other renovations that I finally stuck a note on it that said "Please move to library."

I didn't know what, exactly, I wanted to do with it, but I knew I wanted to do something. I mean, just look at it--clearly, in addition to being full of old catalog cards, it is also full of possibility.

My first plan was to turn the catalog into storage for frequently-requested supplies--markers, tape, rulers, pens. . . you get the idea.

Around the same time, however, I began playing with some ideas around providing readers' advisory--namely, coming up with creative ways to help students who came in looking for books and requesting mysteries, or science fiction, or "a book about someone with a messed up life."

The first thing I did was create some lists in the catalog in order to help me have an easy reference for those lists, but I wanted to find a new way to get those lists to students (outside of searching the catalog).

And thus an overly-ambitious project was born.

I decided to use the top row of drawers for catalog cards, but rather than traditional catalog cards these cards would feature a select list of books, and be designed as a readers' advisory tool.

I took my book lists, focusing on high interest fiction and non-fiction, and came up with genre names that were reflective of the types of books my students regularly asked for. Then I created a card for each book, using the cover image and brief blurb.

There will still some old dividers in the catalog, so I made some new labels for them.

And labeled the drawers.

This project was A LOT of work and A LOT of fun. It was a great way to both refresh my memory and become more knowledgeable about my collection. I can't wait to share it with students--my goal is to have them creating cards and contributing to our readers' advisory catalog.


  1. Love your ideas! What a wonderful way to repurpose that beautiful cabinet. We are missing our teacher only day at school due to Hurricane Irene, so I'm glad to have had a chance to read your blog. It was great learning from you at EdCamp CT.

  2. I love the juxtaposition of apocalyptic books and glue sticks.