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Part of our role as library teachers is to help the students learn how to locate 
the information and materials they need or want.  In order for that instruction to 
be retained, the students must practice the techniques and skills we teach them.  
We do them no favors by making the process easier for them.  Instead of separate 
shelving for the series, we should focus on helping the students learn the authors 
of the series and where books by those authors can be found in the normal library 
configuration.  In addition to the knowledge and ability to locate materials, we 
can also use the opportunity for instruction on authors and illustrators.  When a 
student likes a series, we can (try to) expand their reading to other materials by 
the same author or introduce them to authors of similar materials.  For 
non-fiction, if a student is interested in cars, sports, pets, origami, or drawing, 
etc., we should be teaching them the Dewey classification where those materials can 
be found.  And yes, even elementary children can learn these skills.  It may just 
take more reinforcement on our part.  Properly instructed at the elementary level, 
the more literate students and researchers they will be in high school and beyond.  
We are teaching them life-skills, not just how to find a particular book during 
their limited library time this week.

On a related note, I also disagree with the genre separations in the public 
libraries.  Some of my own favorite authors write in different genres and I find it 
frustrating to have to go to different sections of the library to select a book.  
Yeah, I know, that's basically laziness!  When I worked in the public library, we 
had some complaints (from patrons and employees) when it was decided to combine the 
Juvenile non-fiction section with the Adult non-fiction section.  You can probably 
guess, I sided with the "convenience" of having all books on a particular topic 
being together, rather than the "children shouldn't see this" argument.  This is 
where I feel parental supervision should come into play, rather than changing the 
public library layout.  (And no, I don't mean for this to get into a discussion of 
challenged materials... that is a completely different topic!  I present this 
example solely related to layout and organization of materials in a library 

Carolyn Emde, Library Media Specialist
(currently assistant @ Columbus Elementary, Tulsa, OK)<>

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