Do you remember your first ever attempt at research in the library as a kid? It was awfully intimidating for many of us. The books are arranged in stacks that reach the ceiling, or at least look like they do. The folks that could help you were seated behind those tall counters that you could barely even see over. So you’d scrape up enough courage to interrupt their work and ask if they have any books on dolphins. If they were available they might walk you into the stacks and show you a number that means dolphin in library speak: 599. But chances are that the library was filled with other kids working on projects, so you probably received a quick lesson on the card catalog instead. Remember those? You’d follow the “see also” or other references around the subject cards until you hit on your topic. Then you bravely traveled into the stacks on your own expedition alone.
Perry Library has been working to restructure our children’s department to create the most user-friendly first research experiences possible for our young patrons. Ms. Yolanda is the Children and Teens Specialist here at Perry Public Library. Her desk was relocated before summer from the circulation desk to the children’s nonfiction area. We brought her out from behind that tall desk that little folks need a step stool to even see over. Now, Ms. Yolanda is available right where children need her.
Our latest change has been the relocating of our children’s reference section. Reference books are those great books filled with lots of information that live permanently within the library and do not check out for trips home. These reference books contain indispensable information that people need to have access to all the time. Things such as encyclopedias, dictionaries or an atlas are reference items.
These items were previously shelved with our adult reference items in our reference area. It came to our attention, when two young children planned a brave expedition into the adult area or “woods”, that some children find visiting the adult section to be intimidating. We’ve decided to relocate the Junior Reference materials to a separate section in the children’s area next to Ms. Yolanda’s desk. This helps kids to know that they have assistance immediately available when they need help gathering information. It also makes perfect sense to have all children’s materials in the same area.
All accounts of these changes have been very positive. We hope these changes help to make the library more accessible and less intimidating. We always welcome your feedback and are continually looking for ways to improve library service. Stay tuned for more exciting happenings with Perry’s Children and Young Adults!