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Simplify Your Series

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 ...  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?