The Perry branch library of the Maricopa County Library District, is a joint-use facility with the Chandler Unified School District and is located in the Town of Gilbert. This arrangement alone, for joint-use libraries, is a first to have three different government entities run one library.
The library has its grand opening on Tuesday July 10, 2007, but has been open since June 7th. It received a great deal of attention from the Arizona Republic article on May 30th that highlighted the change. Library Journal followed up with an article providing more detail, as well as School Library Journal. NPR followed up with an interview with Marshall Shore, adult services coordinator for the Maricopa County Library District. It began a maelstrom of comments from bloggers and on publib.
The library is open 10am to 8pm Monday through Thursday, and 10-5 on Friday and Saturday. They are open to the school from 7am to 10am only.
Joint-use library explanation
This is the second joint-use library in the Maricopa County Library District, the first being the North Valley Regional Library in Anthem.
Public Libraries are increasingly using this technique in order to keep up with demand. There is no mandate for a county or city to build a new library because they have reached a certain population threshold, a school does. A public library can be built faster and cheaper using this model using an IGA(Intergovernmental Agreement).
The IGA dictates how everyone gets along and who does what. It also determines what happens if the joint-use is dissolved. Who gets what books? who gets the computers? Sort of what happens in a divorce and the IGA is the prenuptial agreement. The school often builds the library and costs are split 50/50 with the library agency. Operations are performed entirely by public library staff with often a school liaison that ensures school rules are enforced on library property.
Often the crux of the issue with this relationship is one of responsibility. The school acts as the parent while the child is in school, the library has no such responsibility. This is where policies collide since one needs to restrict and one wants to provide access.
1 branch manager
1 youth librarian
1 teen librarian (acts as school liaison and school librarian)
1 Adult Reference Librarian
1 circulation supervisor
Library Support Staff
2 Library Assistants
5 library Pages
13 library staff in all (I may have made errors, but I believe I have this information correct)
The New Classification System
The library will categorize all of its materials like a bookstore, using the BISAC system (Book Industry Study Group) Subject headings. There are 50 different categories, of which, each is broken down into several different sub-categories:
ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY
BODY, MIND & SPIRIT
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
CRAFTS & HOBBIES
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY
HEALTH & FITNESS
HOUSE & HOME
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES
SPORTS & RECREATION
Each subject area has almost 100 sub-genres each. This system, in a sense, can provide just as much detail as the Dewey Decimal System with the full book industry making decisions on how books are categorized rather than a librarian system. Also, all the non-fiction is interfiled so Young Adult and Juvenile are with the general non-fiction. Young Adult is indicated by a big Y on the spine label and Juvenile is indicated by a big J on the spine label.
Our Tour guides
Jennifer Miele, the branch manager, was kind enough to provide a tour for myself and my library staff. We appreciated her taking the time to visit with us in lieu of her very busy schedule. School starts up in Chandler on July 23rd. We also were fortunate enough to meet with Marshall Shore himself, who was there checking on how things were going.
The first thing we noticed in the tour was how open the library was. The Perry branch has the exact layout of the Basha Branch of the Chandler Public Library System.
Five 3M self-check stations, the service desk sits equidistant from the public entrance and the school entrance, near the school entrance sits a row of 40 computers for access)
(the far left picture shows how open the section is, most of the shelving is on wheels, the top row of all shelves have books that face out, all the DVDs face out)
You can see from one end of the library to the other from any part of the library. Center picture shows children's section and 100 person community room through the double doors. Self-check units being used on the right.
A table displays best-sellers and new books. A plasma tv screen displays library news and program updates.
On the left, the periodical room with four study rooms on the far left. They won't have many periodicals until January because Ebsco only cycles the magazines January to December. New subscriptions are not sent out until January. The middle pictures shows the large bank of computers. The far right shows the service desk. (almost hidden)
The Teen room, six computers, comfy chairs, and a very cool (but didn't appear to be too functional) bookshelf.
How books are shelved
This is the fun part. All the spine labels for non-fiction only indicate the subject area that they go in. So if it is a Psychology book, the spine says Psychology. The books are then shelved by title order. So a page would take the book, go to the psychology section and shelve the book where the title is.
The money shot
Analysis: What works and doesn't work for this system