One of the most comprehensive projects that I worked on with Anthem College was the reorganization of the library. When I started, the library was organized according to Library of Congress classification, beginning closest to the door and moving farther back into the library. The shelves were arranged in straight rows and there were no specific subject designations for materials. The picture shows what the original library looked like.
The first thing that I decided to do was remove some of the excess shelving. While the library had room for all its shelves, I felt that a better use of space would be to consolidate the books onto fewer shelves. This allowed the collection to look fuller, while also opening up the library as a more inviting space. With more space between the shelves, it was easier to walk around and browse what was available. I also turned the shelves to that they displayed at an angle, giving a different look to the library that what it previously had. As part of this project, I also did some substantial weeding, pulling from the collection books that were old, outdated, or just not relevant to the current collection needs. I modified the Library of Congress classification order in the library so that the medical resources were displayed on the shelves closest to the doors, making it easier for students to walk in and find exactly what they were looking for. The picture below shows what the library looked liked after its first reorganization.
In addition to the metal shelving, I also created separate collections housed on the wood panel shelving. These were placed around the perimeter of the library and highlighted specific library collections. The picture below shows the dedicated reference collection, with materials that were designated for library use only. In addition, I created collections for computer resources, job search materials, materials in Spanish, and GED materials.
In addition to the dedicated collections, I decided to incorporate a specific fiction area. The back corner of the library created an ideal “Reading Corner” that included several different fiction shelves and a rocking chair for patrons to stay and read. This offered the benefit of a fun part of the library for patrons who wanted something for recreation rather than research, and also allowed better distribution of the remaining research books on the metal shelving. The fiction collection was prominent but separate, which also helped students who were confused by what constituted an appropriate research resource and what was better suited for recreational reading.
These changes were made while the students were off campus during a two-week winter break. When they returned to campus, they were excited to see the various changes to the library, and both students and faculty commented that they enjoyed and appreciated the changes.
I continued to observe the patrons in the library for additional potential changes. In the spring of 2011, the campus was painted to reflect the new school colors. However, during that time, the library was not included. During the week-long summer break in July 2011, I painted the library with volunteer assistance. We created an accent wall similar to that found in the classrooms and repainted the other walls as well to match the new color scheme of the campus. Overall, the addition of color brightened the library and made it seem like a new room, although the location was the same.
Additional changes were made in the library over time based on observation of the patrons and how the library might be more user-friendly. The table highlighting new arrivals was rearranged and moved closer to the library entrance, and more noticeable signage added to it. Since this is also where students signed in, it helped to encourage patrons to sign in to document library usage more accurately.
When the Director of Education wanted to highlight the available periodicals, I developed a specific periodicals section to display these resources. I found old library shelving specifically designed to display magazines, and develop a specific section that showcased the available subscriptions while also having a place to store older editions. This was originally in the back of the library, and was later moved to the front shelving section to be clearly visible when entering the library.
I also created a new group study area. In support of the Massage Therapy program, I worked with the Program Head to design a series of review kits and study materials for the students to use. However, we also designated these materials as library use only, so we wanted an area where a group of students could easily collaborate and study without bothering other students in the library. I added this study table in one corner of the library, which allowed for small groups to work together and spread out materials without bothering other students utilizing the computers or other library resources. This also became popular for students working on group projects for class.
Our campus was also fortunate to employ Federal Work Study student workers. When I hired my first student worker, I created this area near my office specifically for a student worker. It included a work desk and computer so that any student worker could have access to the catalog and other necessary computer functions. This also allowed the student worker to oversee the library and answer questions easily. We quickly discovered that students were often more comfortable asking the student worker for assistance, and most students would stop at this desk before continuing to my office if they needed additional assistance.
The final library reorganization project that I completed was the development of program-specific collections. I noticed that most students preferred to browse in an area related to the subject they were interested in, rather than looking in multiple locations. While Library of Congress classification already grouped many of these materials together, most students were not comfortable locating the appropriate section. I instead created individual subject collections, similar to what one might find in a bookstore layout. I pulled the major books related to each program into a unique section. Large letters were used to name the sections, and each book in the section also received a colored spine label denoting the collection. Additionally, I updated the catalog records to include the collection in the location information and also tag each book in the collection as a member of that collection, allowing me to easily produce a list of available materials for each specific program. I created subject collections for each of the major programs offered at the campus, and additionally added signage to distinguish the general education and medical resources.