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Large print titles

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1libraryperilous
Nov 7, 5:22pm Top

What are current best practices for large print books? I guess I always have viewed them as akin to a genre. Most libraries I've used have them in separate sections and also give them separate shelf in the new books section. Is this considered marginalizing?

My current library has the large print books shelved within other sections of books, nor do they have labels or stickers on them to denote large print. They have Christian fiction, westerns, and mysteries shelved separately, and the westerns and Christian fiction have stickers.

I'm not arguing for one method or another, just wondering what contemporary patrons want and need. I can understand why it would feel alienating to have a separate section, but I also can understand why it might be frustrating to have to search through other books to find ones you can read.

Anyway, when I mentioned to the staffer at the local library that people might want large print books to be on a separate shelf in the new books section, she acted like I was making a terrible comment and said that no one else has complained. I don't want to make terrible suggestions that advocate for something awful! She also seemed to think I didn't want them on the new books shelf at all, so it probably was poor communication all around on my part. :(

Thanks in advance for any replies.

2NielsenGW
Nov 8, 7:13am Top

As a person who went to a combined Library Science/Information Science school, my advice is always the same: get data. You said that people might want large print books in a separate shelf, but you don't know for sure. I would suggest, each time you see a patron check out or turn in large print materials, simply ask them--without priming--how they feel about the current system of shelving those materials in with all the others.

Get a decent sample size, maybe 200-300 answers, and be honest about it. If your local patrons don't care, don't worry about it--the system works for those who use it. If there is a clear indication that they want the materials in a new section, then take to the higher ups. Not only will you have a promising suggestion for how to best serve your patrons, you'll have the data to back it up.

3libraryperilous
Nov 8, 9:18am Top

>2 NielsenGW: Thanks for your reply. Absolutely, if I worked at the library or lived here permanently, I'd ask them to collect data on what their patrons need and want. I made the suggestion to a person who works there and can pursue it if they choose. It's a small library in my very conservative hometown, but it's not an issue that affects me or about which I feel strongly. It was a passing suggestion that was taken more seriously than I anticipated by a longtime staffer who, I think, took it personally.

I'm mostly just curious what current general best practices are, or if there even are established best practices or accessibility advocates who work in this area.

Thanks again!

4fdholt
Nov 8, 12:50pm Top

My college library did not collect large print books. However the local public library has them. Last time I was there, they were shelved separately.

5WeeTurtle
Nov 8, 10:55pm Top

At lease one branch of the local regional library here shelves large print books separately, close to the entrance and right across from the check out machines, and they all have stickers. I think this is in part for access. There are a number of seniors that use the library and like the Large Print materials and there they are easy to see and grab. What is shelved where does depend on library readership. For example, the smaller branch in the next village made a Christian shelf because of the number of people that request specifically Christian novels.

The snag with shelving something like large print separately is that multiple copies of the same book are separated, which can make it harder for people to find if the aren't that savvy with the OPAC.

6libraryperilous
Nov 9, 1:28pm Top

>5 WeeTurtle: The OPAC comment is an excellent point. Thanks, >4 fdholt: and >5 WeeTurtle: for the responses.

I went to the library today to return some items, and they have labeled the LP titles on the new shelf with bright red 'LP' stickers. I think it's a great compromise. The staffer (a different one) told me that they still haven't decided if they're going to mix in the older LP titles in the stacks. They currently are on a separate shelf. She also said she had purchased the labels recently because she'd been finding LP titles in the main stacks and thought the other staff members would find the label helpful.

The real lesson here is I should have just emailed my suggestion to the library's director, rather than mentioning it in passing to the employee. :)

Thanks again, everyone, for the helpful responses. I'm headed to library school next fall. I can't wait to dig into the way libraries work—and can be improved to work better for their communities.

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