Last November, armed only with a copy of Teen Spaces by Kimberly Bolan and a budget of $1,000, I set out to create a teen space in my library. The budget actually seemed huge to me at first, but after looking up the price lists for a number of nice contract furniture companies, I realized it was almost enough to buy a chair. Woo. Hoo.

Undaunted, I expanded my search to include residential and school furniture, until I found something with an acceptable balance of quality, versatility, and price. During the process, I learned a number of things I wanted to pass on to anyone else in the position of choosing furniture for a teen space without the benefit of a consultant or even the advice of a furniture company.

  1. If you don't have access to floor plans for your building, you can make ones using free online tools. I started out with a tape measure and graph paper, but I ended up using floorplanner.com. The best part was that after I created an outline and entered the dimensions of the shelves I was working with, I could drag and drop them anywhere and get a 3-D simulation. I think my coworkers were more impressed with the 3-D simulation than anything else I've done this year. Read More →

In dream library world, planning would probably be Step 1 in building a graphic novel collection.'  But in real library world, I didn't make a plan for how to define, collect, catalog, process, and shelve graphic novels.'  I just started buying them.

As I've blithely added materials to my graphic-novel-and-nonfiction collection, I've run into all kinds of interesting questions: If I shelve my graphic novels by author, am I devaluing the role of artists?'  If I have a graphic adaptation of a novel, like Stephen King's Dark Tower series, do I shelve it under the name of the adaptor, or the original author?'  Can I make a meaningful distinction between superhero comic books and other graphic novels?'  If I do make that distinction, where do I put series about heroes without superpowers?'  And don't even get me started on nonfiction. Read More →