By Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
I spent the first three days of November becoming intimately acquainted with our library’s collection. I touched nearly every one of the adult fiction books that were in the building while we did inventory. I feel a lot like I do after painting a room: lots of reaching and crouching to get to everything on the shelves.
Thank you for your patience while we were closed. We did need all three days, but we got it done. We had two people here from Pioneerland headquarters to help us the first day, but the rest of the time our regular staff were the only ones hard at work, scanning every single item with a barcode in the building. Now we wait for the reports that will tell us which things are in the wrong place, which missing things we found, and which missing things we’d better give up on because they weren’t found. It will be interesting. It should greatly improve our records, after ten years without an inventory.
We handled each section of the library’s collection separately. I wonder if you’ve discovered all of the different places we keep different kinds of items.
Based on the dust, I suspect that our oversized book section is rarely discovered. It’s tucked back against the wall behind the adult computers and the reference shelves, near the small study room. This is a shelf of books that are too big to fit on our regular shelves. They’re all adult nonfiction. Mostly they’re art and history books, with some other books on countries and continents, space, and cooking. I found a giant book on dinosaurs that I’m going to check out for my family, and I thought I’d already looked at every dinosaur book we had here. If you like coffee table books with lots of big pictures, I suggest you browse this hidden collection.
Next to the oversized books, we have a shelf of great books, from Sophocles to Dostoyevsky. I plan to take a look at these to see if the titles have newer duplicates in our regular collection. I suspect that they never get checked out. If you’re a fan of the classics and didn’t know we had this set available to you, take a look at the shelf on that back wall.
Between these back shelves and the computers, we have our reference section. You can find the current Minnesota Statutes and Minnesota Rules, Leonard Maltin’s 2012 movie guide, a current catalogue of collectible postage stamps, and the 2011 CIA World Factbook. It’s my goal to get the outdated books off of those shelves so that we all can easily see the useful things. Some information is just not available on the internet, and it can really be handy to have a well-organized book.
Moving over to the back wall of our rows of adult books, we have our large print collection. All of our large print fiction is here, with the exception of the newest things, which are on the shelf with other new books near the lobby. At the end of the large print hardcovers, we have a few larger print paperbacks. If you need large print or you’d like to be free from your reading glasses while you read a novel, check out this section.
Going past our large print section, you’ll find our adult paperbacks. Some patrons don’t realize we have this section, since it’s in the back corner. If you do a catalog search and find an adult paperback that you want, this is where you’ll find it. Some popular authors have books in our adult hardcovers, adult paperbacks, and large print sections. If you’re just browsing for books by a particular author without doing a catalog search, you’ll want to check all three sections.
Our inspirational/Christian fiction novels have their own special section at the end of the regular adult fiction. If you like to read books by authors like Wanda Brunstetter, Melody Carlson, and Karen Kingsbury, this is where you’ll find them.
Right next to our front desk on the children’s side, you’ll find a shelf of Spanish materials. Most of them are children’s books. A few are adult nonfiction. If you read Spanish or are studying it, I hope you’ll take a look at this special collection.
If you haven’t explored our whole library, I hope you’ll wander around and find some spots you’ve never found before. Or you can always ask a staff member for help finding something. We’ll be glad to guide you.