Candidates organize school library collections according to current library cataloging and classification principles and standards.
No matter how theoretically excellent a resource may be, it is only truly as valuable as the ability of the patron to locate and use it effectively. For this reason, the effective organization of the library media facility and its collections is essential. In our current technological world, standard accepted practice in the field of school library dicates the maintenance of one’s collection through a digital cataloging system. Consistency in these records is essential to providing clear access points through which the library patrons can conduct fruitful searches. As library professionals look forward to a future of even more highly advanced technology, there is a need for the increased sharing of cataloging records. Such collaborative efforts will achieve a level of consistency far more universal than the local school building and thereby vastly improve the success of a patron’s information quest.
I created a comprehensive technical services manual for use in a suburban middle school, setting the standards for the processing of all local library resources (print, nonprint, and electronic) with attention to county-wide policies and procedures. This manual exhibits my knowledge of and ability to organize a school library based on the regulatory giants of the field – including my decision to defer to the Library of Congress on matters of authority control and standardized subject headings and as a preferred source for copy cataloging. All MARC records are to be formatted according to the rules set forth by the ISBD and the AACR2. Ever more frequently, standard practice is drifting away from the creation of bookmarks and pathfinders for maintaining records of quality websites and rather, establishing the precedent of incorporating valuable sites into the catalog’s MARC record bank of holdings. This was a new revelation for me during my Organization and Access course. It had never occurred to me that websites should be included in the cataloging system, but as I thought it over, it increasingly made logical sense to me. Cataloging websites allows for “one-stop shopping”; it limits the number of different digital locations the students have to visit to locate a wide-variety of valuable resources. I have made accommodations for this trend by listing websites as one of the seven categories of items to be cataloged with the following specifications: “Stable instructional websites approved for inclusion by the school librarian will be cataloged according to the MARC format for electronic data, featuring the 856 field with a direct link to the internet site.”
This manual also showcases my foresight in establishing realistic procedures for the processing and organization within the school library based on the extensive roles of the school library staff and also on the ease of use for the student patrons. Recognizing that processing materials takes time away from the other essential duties of the librarian (who is a program manager, information specialist, teacher, instructional partner, and leader within the school building), book jobbers will complete processing whenever possible. Original Level 1 cataloging and Level II cataloging that can be completed simply through copy cataloging will be primarily the responsibility of the media clerk, with the school librarian acting in a supervisory role. Only Original Level II cataloging will be completed directly by the school librarian. As I have a tendency to be a micro-manager and often like to complete things by myself, it was very important for me personally to put in writing where this dividing line between the duties of the media clerk and the school library is drawn. I realized that the media clerk is there to help me and to alleviate some of the technical stresses of the job so that I can focus more fully on my roles as teacher and collaborative partner. I knew that I will need to be okay with the clerk doing the majority of the cataloging – which is not an issue since most be conducted by loading the jobber-provided files or by copy-cataloging. I do not need to have personal oversight of every tiny detail.
Keeping the age of the middle school patrons in mind, I have stipulated that the juvenile LC/AS subject headings be used when available. I have also chosen, as is considered best practice within the school library, to separate fiction materials into their own section. The reference section will be maintained only as a small collection of multi-volume resources, so that other texts may freely circulate in the nonfiction section. For the ease of the patron, I will interfile graphic format texts but identify them with red spine label protectors; in this way, they may be placed in their appropriate Dewey sections but still be easily browsed by consistent readers of specifically graphic format texts. In using the Dewey Decimal system, the standard for all school library classification, I have made the decision to truncate Dewey call numbers after the first prime, keeping the numbers manageable for middle school students but preserving the integrity of the system’s design.
Within the range of acceptable classification practices, I have made every effort to set standards for my furture school library that maintain high professional standards while suiting my personal discretion. Equally important in considerations was the need to create processing and organization standards that would be manageable and least restrictive of my other roles as librarian. By establishing processing specifications with outside vendors, time-consuming technical services can be avoided.