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I put my AR books right along side the regular books in the collection.  My
rationale - if they like a particular book, they can go right over to the
shelf and find other books by the same author or in the same series.  I color
code my Reading counts books (I just switched from AR) by reading level.  The
kids know if they are reading at the first grade level, they need to find
books with red dots, etc.
jonie fitzsimmons MIRLS

In my library we have so many AR books that it would be impossible to pull
them out for many reasons.
1.  Having the books shelved along with the others gives you an excellent
reasons for teaching call number location skills.
2.  It takes more time to shelve in two different areas.  I don't have the
space to separate out the AR books from nonAR books as they come in.  We do
about 75% or more AR books some days.  There is only one person to man the
circulation counter.
3.  I refuse to color-code reading level on outside for privacy issues.  I do
color-code the book to be AR.  If a student knows how to get to the proper
area, he can rapidly spot a book on the shelf.
4.  I don't have shelving space available to separate the collection.

This has been discussed a lot.  I sure if you look in the archives you'll
find this info.  Most librarians fall on one side of the fence when it comes
to reading level and separating.  Basically go for what meets your state
requirements for privacy.  I don't want my students self-esteem hit by
carrying books identified as very low reading level.
Sandy Scroggs

I think it violates labeling ethics when you shelve them separately.  Of
course, so does putting a sticker on the book.  I am at a middle school and
don't like AR because the teachers refuse to use it correctly and it causes
the students to choose only AR books to read.  I couldn't get anyone to check
out Harry Potter till I made a test for it.  In spite of zillions of
in-services and reminders, the teachers still send kids in for a "2 point
book," they use it for a grade, they make all kids read books on
"grade-level," etc.  I guess I went beyond the scope of your question!  My
opinion is mix them in, so the kids will at least SEE some other books.
Sara Sadowsky

We have AR in only one secondary, but have it in all the elementary schools
in our district.  In only one building(elementary) is AR shelved in a
separate area.  This spring that building will be interfiling with fiction
and nonfiction.  We believe that part of our job is teach location skills,
along with all the other information literacy skills.  If AR is shelved
separately, we are limiting students by not allowing them to search in Dewey,
and we limit their choices too, by putting so much stress on just AR.  There
are many, many good books on the shelves that are not AR, and the students
would get a lot out of those too if they find them.  AR books are usually
marked in some way, or can be tagged in the automated system, which helps.
Then, when the student goes looking for the book, he/she gets valuable
practice in actually searching the shelves in the right order.
Mostly this practice of separate shelving in our district has been requested
by teachers.  I'm not sure why, but most of the LMS's  believe that doing it
that way is a disservice to the students. AR has its value, but one of the
downsides is that students are so limited in the choices of what they can
read (if AR is used for grades).
I will look forward to your HIT on this topic to see what other schools are

I strongly believe that AR books should be incorporated into the regular
shelving.  If we believe that AR promotes reading, don't we also want to
encourage students to discover other books they would enjoy reading that
might happen to be sitting on the shelf next to that AR book.  Hey, Barnes
and Noble puts similar books together.  Our job is marketing too.  If we just
put all AR books in one place, some students might never wander into the
regular stacks and find that wonderful book that will change their reading

That's a question I have wrestled with for six or seven years.  My district
coordinator strongly feels that the AR books should be shelved in with the
rest of the collection.  In a perfect world, i would agree with her, but
circulation in my library is so great that I have found that the only way to
handle it is to have the AR books in one section near the front of the
library.  That way I can more easily supervise the kids, because AR   books
are mostly what they want.  Otherwise, I would have dozens of kids all over
my library (I have an L-shaped library with many little nooks and crannies)
and it would be a nightmare to supervise.  As it is, I still have problems
with supervising - the kids come in from their reading and other classes with
passes from the teachers all day.  I may have as few as 5 or as many as 30 as
any given point in the day, all on their own, without any teacher supervision
- only me.  So I have resisted the pressure to integrate the AR books back
into the collection.  My other thought about having them separate is that in
non-fiction, there are many more books that are not AR than ones that are.  I
was afraid this would cut down greatly on the reading of AR nonfiction simply
because the books would be so hard to find.
Hope this helps.  Jill Brandon, Librarian

We take a middle approach.  We shelve most of our books in the regular
collection, although they have a spine label the designates them as AR
titles.  However, we also have a special display area with a rotating
collection of highlighted titles.  Whenever I do a book talk, I will set it
up with the AR titles that match the book talk designation, and at other
times, just with those that I think have a lot of appeal.  This way the books
get called to students attendtion, but most are available on the regular
shelves when they go looking.

We used to keep all of our AR books in one section, but as our collection of
AR books grew, this caused a great bottleneck effect.  So...we have placed
red dots on the spine of each AR book and shelved them in their "regular"
place in the collection.  The red dot helps the children identify these books
as AR books and keeping them in their regular place helps everyone find them
more easily.  Hope this helps!
Pam Walker

I would recommend highly that you keep the AR books integrated into your
collection.  Use some symbol on the spine label to indicate they are AR books
and students can find them.  Also keep lists available of the titles on the
disks you have loaded into your computers.  Students can get books from the
public library if they are not owned by you.  It is not wise to use the test
disk to be your selection tool.  Purchase books because they  meet the
criteria you have set for collection development.  Then purchase disks which
have those titles on them.  If you have further questions, I will be happy to
answer them.  We have been using this program for over 10 years.
Sue McGown, Librarian

We have done both. Initially we shelved the AR books separately, divided by
reading level. It caused a "mob" problem. All the students would rush to the
AR corner, congegrate there, and try to outdo each other as to difficulty or
point level. After two years of this (it took that long to get a reasonable
number of AR books), we reshelved them with the non-AR books. It is easy to
see which are AR by the colored reading level dots on the spines, and the
kids actually get interested in and check out non-AR books, too.

I like shelving them in with the regular collection because I think students
learn more about looking for books this way. I think it better prepares them
for when they visit the public library.
    All of my AR books, fiction and non-fiction, are shelved within the
regular collection.

Since one of our main goals is to teach library skills, esp. the skill of
location, we do not shelve AR books in a separate area.  Students need to
practice their skills and this is a perfect opportunity to do so.
-- Bonnie Harrison

The AR books were in a separate section when I arrived at this school 3 years
ago. The problem was that the AR books were not denoted as such in the
computer catalog. Therefore, when we looked up a title, the computer would
say it was on the shelf; we would go to the appropriate section and not find
it. This was very frustrating for our K-4 students.
So, I  rethought the situation, and interfiled the books in the appropriate
sections. Our AR books are marked with a red dot below the spine label with
the reading level on the top and the point value on the bottom (like a
fraction).  This has worked much better for us. I presently have a volunteer
(my husband!) going through the computer catalog records and adding the AR
information on the 528 tag. [for the record, two libraries were combined 5
years ago: an "upper campus" 3rd & 4th grades and a "lower campus" of K-2.
Most of the records are extremely brief--author's last name and title only.
So we've been trying to clean up quite a computer mess!]
My thought is this: if I'm going to teach children location skills, the books
need to be where they're supposed to be. I don't have any special separate
sections for award winners, AR, etc. but am trying to get any special
information noted in the catalog.
Hopes this helps you reach a decision!
Renee F. Ward, LMS

I would keep the AR books in the collection as much as possible, and as
inconspicuous as possible.  At my school they are intershelved with the other
books where they belong, whether fiction or non fiction.  We put a small
yellow bok on the books to indicate that they are AR books, but we only put
the info sticker on the inside, we don't indicate on the outside what level
the books are at; the students are responsible for looking inside to find
that out.

Hi. My school is K-5 and we have had AR for 4 years. It's great. We started
out color-coding each level. Easy books are grouped by color on the shelves.
Fiction,    Biographies, and Non-Fiction also on shelves by themselves. All
are alphabetized within their ranges. AR  books are what  the students check
out, so
we agreed they needed to be easily found. We have a collection of approx.
4,500 AR titles.  Good luck. Janet Barnett, Media Assistant

    We are a K-4 school and started the AR Program in January.  I decided to
dedicate a book cart to AR books (fortunately I had an extra one) and AR
books are also shelved.  If a child comes to the library to select an AR book
and may not have the time to browse the shelves, he/she can just go to the
cart and make a quick choice.   Seems to be working plus it saves me shelving
time since I can put color coded books on the cart until it is full.  Will be
interested in learning what librarians are doing.
Diana Lamey

I am currently a first year media specialist in an elementary school.  Our AR
books are organized by the AR level.  They were this way when I started and I
choose not to change this because I had much bigger fish to change!!!  I
think that next year I will shelve the books in with my non-AR books and have
them identifiable  by an AR sticker.  It really is a pain to have to look for
something in the card catalog and then see  what level it is on AR every time
you want to find a book.  On the other hand, if AR is just starting up and
you only have a small number of books then it may be beneficial to have them
shelved separately.  It is easier to find the correct level
and shelve the books.

What we have done with our books is to leave them on the shelf where they
are.  We have put a white sticky dot on the spine above the call number
with the point value of the book.  The students know to look for the dots
to find the point books.
Another school in the area has color coded their dots.  Example- pink is
5, white - 1, blue 2-3,  . . .
Hope this helps.  Bob Santella -librarian

I manage a K-8 library that has used AR for several years.  I have gone all
the way from putting labels in the front of books with Level and Point
values, to spine labelling AR titles with a color dot, to our current system
which is a color coded label that
indicates to students the level of the title. We have a color key for levels
posted in several places in the library.  The AR books are intershelved with
all others.  I know
we need to help our patrons find the books they need and I do that all the
time, but it goes against my beliefs to shelve them separately.  When
students leave your library, will they always have the luxury of someone
sorting titles out for them? Or, will they need to know the system, that is
standard in many public and school libraries? I also think that the non AR
titles are used more often, because of the
I hope this helps.  I have a love/hate relationship with AR in my school.
The success of AR depends a great deal on how the classroom teacher
interprets its use.
Good Luck!  Nina Flax,

You won't have many AR tests yet, but your collection will "grow like Topsy."
We have AR here in grades 7-12 and we just put stickers on AR books and
shelve as usual. We have used AR here for several years and I have
particularly worked on it since I came last year. We now have several
thousand tests (in fact, I think we may have more tests than books, due to
ordering some standardized disks) and I am doing my best to get tests for
everything we have on the shelf.
You may be able to shelve AR separately now, but not for long.
We use "green glow" round stickers to mark AR books and write the level and
number of points on each one. (Ex: 5/6 for level 5, 6 points) We do use label
protectors to keep the labels on. (Thought for the day: if the label
protectors stay on, why not the labels?) We also write the information on the
card pocket. The books are where they ought to be and can be found as usual.
Caveat: a few of our teachers with small classroom collections arrange their
books by the number of points. Don't even try that for the library! Some
folks arrange books by level, but I don't recommend that either. Either way,
you'd have a dozen mini-collections scattered around and never find anything!
I assume you know about custom disks--if not, contact the AR people. If you
don't have their catalog on disk, you need it. Also, you can now order AR
tests on-line. I can't remember the website, but their customer service
people will know. One last thing--the AR people are constantly adding to
their test collection, so a book not on AR now may be next time they put out
a disk.
Happy reading!
Cindy Denning, Librarian

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