A typical conversation heard in my library goes a little bit like this ...

Them: "Mrs. Dykeman, Do you have any Diary of a Wimpy Kid books?"

Me: "Did you check the basket?"

Them: "Uh Huh."

Me: "Were there any books in it?"

Them: "Nuh Uh."

Me: "Guess we are out right now. Check the basket next time that you are in!"

Kids love series! They love the consistency of characters and plot. They are deemed comfortable and often seen by kids as an old friend. Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with series.  I love them because kids love them, and I am all for anything that gets kids to read! But, sometimes, I do find that kids can get "stuck" in a series and are unwilling to try something new. Some of the best books ever written are "one shot deals." Sometimes, they can be a harder sell to a kid who wants to read his way through a series.

Nonetheless, kids love series! When I first started working in the library, I felt that I spent half of my day directing a kid to where a certain series was located on the shelf. Not that I minded, because I cherish any one on one time that I can garner with a reader. However, I was really looking for my kids to be more independent.  I did some research in the archives of library forums to see what other librarians did with their series.  None of the suggestions seemed quite right for me!

So I came up with the concept of the series baskets, and I have never looked back.  Here's a snapshot of my Junior Fiction section.


Series are kept in colored baskets.  Each basket (well, almost every one) is labeled on the front with the name of a specific series.  Series baskets are kept in alphabetical order.  So really the books are exactly where they belong ... they are just in a basket.  I have discovered over the last few years the the very best baskets are those from Really Good Stuff.


Here's a link ... http://www.reallygoodstuff.com/category/organizers/plastic+baskets.do?nType=1.  Personally, I love the 9" x 91/2" x 5" size.  They fit perfectly on my narrow shelves without any overhang, and books fit inside perfectly without any rub on the side.

Why series baskets?

1) They are easy for kids to find!  I generally only have to have the typical conversation as heard above with students once!

2) Kids love the fact that they can "flip" through the books to see the covers.

3) They are easy to put away.  Often, I will have student helpers return them ... a job that even my youngest helpers can do!

Now, if only I could master a way for kids to independently answer the question, "What book comes next in the series?"  Any suggestions?  Do any of you have a tried and true method for listing series in order?

17 comments:

Sara B said...

Do you have trouble with the baskets taking up valuable shelf space? I'm limited on shelves at the moment. I know that's just a good problem to have. (I had a principal who pumped money into the library!) I thought I would pull all my "You wouldn't want to be..." books this fall and organize somehow. The baskets might work.
http://mrsbrownthebookworm.blogspot.com/

Susan Couture said...

Wow I love this idea! I know the kids just love series and this is a great way to show them- also for me it would probably save space!

Kathryn said...

I really like the idea of baskets for the series! I type up the series list and put them above the series on the top of the bookcase...so maybe you could laminate it and put it on a ring hooked to your baskets? I need that list more than the kids I think and often put the books in order by series rather than alphabetically.

Crystal a.k.a. Foxy said...

I love this idea. I wish I had time to do it before school starts, but maybe I can start doing it throughout the year. I too get so tired of answering the question about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. lol. Following you now with Bloglovin'. :-)

Sonya said...

Sara - I too have limited shelf space! In some cases, the baskets actually help me out ... They are deeper than they are wide. In other cases, I may lose a little bit, but I totally find it worth it. So much easier to put the books away too :)

Susan and Crystal ... Thanks for stopping by. I always love to hear from new friends!

Kathryn - Thanks for the list idea. I def. need to address this issue, and this may be just the ticket :)

Mrs. Tretbar said...

I discovered the benefits of labeled baskets also. It REALLY helps. For some of the larger series like "Magic Tree House," I put those between book ends and labeled the book ends.


Mrs. Tretbar's Library

Sara B said...

Thanks ladies, I'm going to try it. Off to find some baskets, red of course. http://mrsbrownthebookworm.blogspot.com/

Mikki said...

I've nominated you for a Liebster Award! Visit http://librarysafari.blogspot.com for more info.

Stacey (@libraryjo92) said...

Love the baskets! I redid my fiction section using these baskets.

I also wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for a Liebster Award! Please visit my blog at http://librarygals.blogspot.com/ for more info.

Sonya said...

Mikki and Stacey - Wow .. Double Liebster Awards!! Thank you TWICE :0) Please be patient with me as I get together the information that I need to work on the post celebrating this nomination.

Bibliocat said...

I did the series baskets last school year. It was great... easy to shelf and easy for the kids to find. I pulled out series that I knew the students would love but they got lost on the shelves. Check TPT for some wonderful free labels for your baskets.

Michelle said...

I started this after the library closed in June. I moved all my books up, leaving the bottom shelf open--which no one "shops" from anyway. I'm going to put the baskets on the bottom shelf. Thanks for the suggestion!! Can't wait for the kids to see them in Sept.

Sonya said...

Bibliocat - I do the same thing and try to highlight either new or not as popular series in the baskets!

Michelle - Love the idea of using just the bottom shelf ... Clever :)

Holly said...

This is a great idea that I will definitely try out. Does anybody out there mind sharing your library's most popular series? I am looking for series for grades 2-5. Thanks!

Sonya said...

Hi Holly - Thanks for stopping by! Ahh ... my most popular series ... SOOO hard to choose. There are lots and lots! A few of my kids favorites are Diary of a Wimpy Kid, A to Z Mysteries, Mythomania, I Survived, Junie B Jones, Magic Treehouse, Ivy and Bean. I also have a Pinterest Board titled Books! Books! Books! and there are a number of infographs and links sharing more series. You may find it informational ...

http://pinterest.com/librarypatch/books-books-books/

Bibliocat said...

What about graphic novel series... besides Big Nate, Captain Underpants, and diary of the wimpy kid... do you put them in series or separate area? With a separate collection code?

Sonya said...

Bibliocat - Sorry that I missed your question! I hope that it isn't too late to let you know that I do have a separate area for Graphic Novels. It is a shelf set up over in my nonfiction section, and I use the prefix GFX in my catalog to separate it. I use these same genre baskets there too :)

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My name is Sonya Dykeman, and I am an elementary school librarian in upstate New York. I taught third and fourth grade for 12 years, and then I went back to school, so that I could get my dream job. I have been in the library for 5 years, and I can honestly say that I LOVE it! Feel free to message me at sjdykeman@gmail.com.

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