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What about Children's books?

Build the Open Shelves Classification

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Jan 24, 2009, 11:49pm Top

I am an elementary teacher and found it quite difficult to find a classification that truly fit "Edward the Emu". Just in children's lit. it seems there should be classifications for realistic fiction, fantasy, historic fiction, poetry, biography, and expository text.

I hit the random book button and a "Dear America" book came up. There was no place that I could classify that book listed. It just didn't fit. It seems if you have the resource of people who have read the books and actually know what they are about, it would be a blessing to have as detailed a system as possible. (without getting goofy about it)

If it is an adult book rate it there, but if it is young adult or children's, the choices would be a little different. Some may be classified as crossovers. Kinda like going from country to pop. (God only knows HOW it happens, but it does.)

Just my two cents worth.

Jan 25, 2009, 12:04am Top

# 1

Do you think children's or juvenile books should be separated at the top level? I would classify it as fiction if Edward the Emu speaks, even though it appears that Edward lives in a zoo and book may serve a didactic function.

Lumping all fiction together has been complained about, when non-fiction has so many categories. I am one of those who would at least keep poetry and manga (along with comics) in separate categories.

Jan 25, 2009, 12:05am Top

What you're describing will probably be dealt with in the next tier down. My advice would be to classify it "fiction" for now, and we'll figure it out later.

Jan 25, 2009, 12:16am Top

Is a Dr. Seuss book poetry?

Jan 25, 2009, 12:39am Top

I looked to see how Dr. Seuss was tagged. The fiction tag is used 2,241 times; poetry - 355, rhyme - 470, rhyming - 446; humor 329.

Tagged as children's 3,553 times, children - 1,570, children's books - 475 childrens book - 86, children's fiction - 361, children's literature - 886.

I think taggers are seeing Dr. Seuss as a children's book first (top level in their mind), and then fiction edging out poetry (and correlates).

So, there is a tension between logic and democracy.

Jan 25, 2009, 7:42am Top

I will have my childrens books separated from the adult fiction, and the poetry altso separated.
All childerensbooks; both fiction and science shall be easy for the children to find.

Jan 25, 2009, 11:14am Top

I can see children's picture books being in a different top level category. You might argue that it should be an optional facet like YA but would any library in the world want to shelve a child's book of animals with some poetry alongside the pictures next to a nature guide? Or Dr. Seuss alongside the adult fiction?

And if you stuff it all under fiction...well a Day in the Life of Firefighters isn't fiction, so you end up with a children's category under each other top-level category. It makes sense to me to just make it top level.

Jan 27, 2009, 9:04am Top

Children's books should be a top level category for a very simple reason: how many parents would like their children to browse for their books among all the adult titles? I think there is a very good reason why children's books have a section of their own in libraries (well, the ones I have seen anyways).

Jan 27, 2009, 11:30am Top

Makis is right in that most public libraries will want to break out the kids' books separate from the adult materials, but IMO it still isn't a valid top level category.

Children's books should be an optional facet, like DVDs or Graphic Novels or books in other languages. That way libraries who want to interfile all their books can do so, and those that want to break them out into a separate section can do so.

Jan 27, 2009, 11:36am Top

Thinking about this some more, I think Children's books need a seperate facet. I honestly can't think of any reason a library would interfile children's books with the adult collection. I also wouldn't make the DVD or GN comparison, as its a different issue.

Jan 27, 2009, 11:42am Top

So, if a division were included in the regular classification does that mean it cannot be in a separate section? You can't shelve the E books, for example, in a different room?

One consequence of making children's books a facet is that they would still be categorized based on the adult categories. Maybe that makes sense, I'm not sure but it's something that needs thinking about.

Jan 27, 2009, 11:49am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Jan 27, 2009, 11:57am Top

I think children's books should definitely be organized like adult books. It seems silly to teach kids how to find books one way and then a few years later say, opps, now you are older, you have to learn something else.

I think the only difference would be you will have a few different branches under fiction, things like picture books or easy readers. As I understand it, that is how the "breaking off the twig" idea should work, you can use it is kids, but ignore it in adults.

Jan 27, 2009, 11:59am Top

Honestly I see nothing wrong with the way most libraries do it now. Give Children's books their own section, but organize them by subject like the adult books. That way they won't have to teach them another way when they get older, they just look in a different part of the library.

Edited: Jan 27, 2009, 12:52pm Top

I wasn't thinking about children's books for school-age children but the Dr. Seuss type. My local library just puts them together alphabetically by author under the facets J PIC and J EASY whether they are fiction or non-fiction. Actually it's a lot more haphazard than that because a lot of the books don't have authors listed, so a lot of them have the beginning of the title on the label to sort by.

Jan 27, 2009, 6:13pm Top

I think there is a discussion worth having concerning children's books classification, but not until we start working on lower level categories. At the top level I agree that they should be sorted the same as adult materials (just with some sort of children's facet). But as you branch out from the top levels there may be a need for sub categories that only exist among children's books (i.e. counting).

Although the solution to that may just be that many children's subjects are kept more generalized (i.e. counting books wouldn't go past the top level for mathematics).

Jan 27, 2009, 6:23pm Top

It's importent to have the childrens book separate from the adultbooks, so they can find them easy. Sorted almost like adultbooks, but there is a question about age-sorting altso. Baby-books, books for 6-9 years etc.

Feb 2, 2009, 1:49pm Top

Greetings! David and I have been busy compiling and analyzing all your comments, and a post with new top levels is forthcoming!

In the interim, take a look on Thingology (http://www.librarything.com/thingology) at the summary of the OSC meeting we had in Denver last weekend.

To clear up some confusion, take a look at how facets/formats and categories/call numbers will be organized (this was determined months ago by this group):

The first letter is audience (A, adult, Y, young adult, C, children's) The second letter is format (B, book, A, audio, G, graphic-novel, etc.) Other facets could be for whatever else needs to be called out—language, special collection, etc.

And so you have

AB 123.321 - Lost Moon
AA 123.321 - Lost Moon in an audio format
AG 123.321 - Lost Moon the graphic-novel
CB 123.321 - Goodnight Moon (children's book)

A library that had no childrens' books would ignore the first facet. A library entirely of Braille books would ignore the second. A library that wants to put all graphic novels together in one area may do so if they wish, or interfile them. Same with CDs, Audio books, etc. Facets allow for this flexibility.


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