Children’s Staff are asked these questions all the time about our picture book collection. Currently, our collection is arranged alphabetically by author, except for the Things That Go! section and 123s and ABCs section. We noticed that these books get checked out all the time. Why? Because they are easy to find! We hope that creating more categories and grouping the picture books together will help you browse them more easily, and discover new ones, too.
Our new picture book categories are:
Favorites (pink labels)
Favorite authors like Mac Barnett and Mo Willems, and favorite characters like Fancy Nancy and Arthur.
Concepts (light blue labels)
Books about the ABCs, 123s, opposites, color, shapes, and time.
Things That Go (yellow labels)
Books about cars, trucks, planes, trains, boats, rockets, and things that go!
Classics (red labels)
Award winners and classic authors such as Maurice Sendak, Bill Peet, William Steig, and Robert McCloskey.
Natural World (green labels)
Stories about nature and animals, including weather, seasons, gardening, and dinosaurs.
Fairy Tales (purple labels)
Stories about princesses, pirates, knights, and dragons, plus traditional folk tales.
Songs and Rhymes (orange labels)
Rhyming stories, books based on songs, Mother Goose and other poetry.
Other (white dot)
Books that do not fit neatly into the above categories.
We are currently in the process of looking at each and every picture book, determining its best category, and adding a new colored label to its spine. Currently, the entire collection is in alphabetical order by author, but in a few weeks we’ll group the categories together and alphabetize those books by author within their categories.
In the catalog, it will look something like this, for the book Olivia by Ian Falconer:
Mill Valley Children’s Favorites E Falconer CHECK SHELF
You’d find Olivia in the Favorites section of the picture books, in alphabetical order under Falconer.
Our goal is to make the picture book collection easier to browse for our youngest visitors. One of the reasons the Go! section circulates so well is because kids who love trucks, trains, and any other transportation vehicle can find all those books in one location. Library staff is still here to help patrons find specific titles, and roughly 40 percent of the collection will not be categorized. Those books, which we have designated “Other” and don’t fit into one of the eight categories, will have a white dot on the spine label and be arranged alphabetically by author. In that area you’ll find great books about libraries, ninjas, sports, ballet dancers, jobs, and much more.
Many other libraries have forged the path before us and shared their processes to make this project run smoothly. A special thanks to the South Novato Library for meeting with us to explain what worked and didn’t work for them. We encourage your comments once we have re-shelved the books by category in early March!