Collection Arrangement and
Organization Scheme

By Amanda Robbins and Stacy Mott

I. Collection Arrangement Policy

The Anytown High School Library Media Center offers a large variety of materials for its patrons. Given that these resources are composed of different formats, it is necessary for the library to be arranged and organized in such a way that students and staff can easily locate the item they are looking for. A standardized method is used in order to create order in our library. Not only does this help our school community, but it simplifies the transition for a new library student because they are already familiar with this method of organization. The standardized classification also makes it possible for our school library to participate with other school libraries in the Inter-Library Loan (ILL) system.
Last updated 4/27/2012

II. General Organization Procedures

  • Books in the library collection are classified in accordance with the latest versions of The Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index.
  • Subject authority will be provided by The Library of Congress.
  • Audiovisual materials will also be classified using the Dewey Decimal System, and are located in a small room dedicated for this purpose

A. The Layout of the Library:
The library is organized into different sections: Paperback Fiction, Graphic Novels, Fiction, Story Collection, Biography, Non-Fiction, and Reference. The Paperback Fiction and Graphic Novels sections were separated from the broader Fiction category to encourage pleasure reading for our students. They are located off to the right side of the library, with comfortable lounging chairs situated nearby. There is a rather large area to display new and popular titles, and is updated regularly.

B. Call Numbers by Section:
The sections of the library are organized by the call numbers, all paperback fiction grouped together, all graphic novels shelved together, etc. The call number prefixes are:

PB Fic Paperback Fiction
SC Story Collection
Graph Graphic Novel
Bio Biography
Fic Fiction
Ref Reference

All of these books are arranged alphabetically by author in their designated areas. The upper part of the spine label is the call number prefix, with the first three letters of the author’s name below, i.e.:

Fic Bio

Hem Tub

It should be noted that the fiction book I chose was The Old Man and the Sea, by Earnest Hemingway. The “Hem” cutter is the first three letters of his name. The Biography section is arranged a little differently. Instead of the cutter consisting of three letters of the author’s name, the subject of the biography is used as the cutter. In my example, the book was about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. “Tub” was used as the cutter instead of the author of the book. This makes it easier for students to find the resource they are looking for. They are arranged alphabetically according to the subject’s surname.

C. The Dewey Decimal Classification System:
All Non-Fiction and Reference materials are organized according to the Dewey Decimal Classification System. Melville Dewey devised this system in 1876, and created ten categories as a way to organize his collection.

General Knowledge
Psychology & Philosophy
Religion & Mythology
Social Sciences & Folklore
Languages & Grammar
Math & Science
Medicine & Technology
Arts & Entertainment
History & Geography

If I were to research the Cold War using the library’s OPAC, I would find a book entitled Cold War America, 1946-1990, by Ross Gregory. The spine label for this book would be:



I would immediately know that this book was located in the nonfiction section, because the spine label has a number instead of “Fic” or “SC.” This book is in the 900 range, so if we look at the Dewey Decimal Classification chart, 900-999 indicates that this book fits into the “History & Geography” section. The “.92” helps librarians to be even more specific in shelving this book correctly by looking at subject headings determined by the Library of Congress. Once I found the 973.92 spot, I would find Ross Gregory’s book alphabetically by the first three letters of his last name.

D. The Reference Section:
The reference section also follows the same classification system as nonfiction. Therefore, a resource on The Cold War would be found in the 900 range of the reference section. For example, I might choose History in Dispute, Vol. 6, the Cold War as a source that I wanted to look at. I would find this by looking for this spine label:




It is still about The Cold War, so the 973.92 remains the same, but instead of being located in the nonfiction section, it is in the reference section of the library. Also, there is no author listed for the source, so “His” represents the first three letters of the first word in the title.

Last updated 4/27/2012

III. Online References or Tools


American Library Association- Setting Up a School Library: Resource Guide

This guide includes tips and ideas when starting a library from scratch. It discusses the collection development, standards and guidelines, and the facilities.

B. Titlewave

Titlewave: Follett Library Resources. 2012. 28 April 2012 <>.

Titlewave is a recommended websites for ordering resources for a library, and expanding the book collection. This website provides all of the information needed to order books. The books are able to be ordered on this site, and a running list is kept of the books wanted. There are also reviews of the books available. This is a helpful site for all librarians.

C. Scholastic

Scholastic. 2012. 28 April 2012

Scholastic is a resourceful website when searching for text for a library or classroom. This website gives the appropriate information to make the best choices for text needed for you library.

Last updated 4/28/12

D. Handout

IV. Annotated Bibliography

A. "Basic Selection Tools: 21st Century Style"

Howard, Jody K. "Basic Selection Tools: 21st Century Style." School Library Monthly (2011): 9-11.

This article gives descriptions of selection tools that school libraries could access to help with the resource selection process. The article also includes websites that could be helpful for the selection process. This would be a good resource for LMS to use when trying to determine which resources would be best to include in their collection.

B. "New Perspectives on a Familiar Space"

Kowalski, Sue. “New Perspectives on a Familiar Space.” Teacher Librarian (2011): 8-12.

In this article, the author shares personal experiences and tips of how she has transformed her librarian to accommodate the students and teachers. She discusses how she has made the most of her space, making it a more functional area for everyone in the school.

C. "Too Old? Too Young? Just Right?..."

Holley, Pam Spencer. “Too Old? Too Young? Just Right? YALSA Award Winners and Selection List Possibilities for Middle School Aged Library Users.” Young Adult Library Services (2011): 40-44.

This article gives a list of a various books that are recommended for students sixth grade and above. Each of the books have received awards and have been recommended by a variety of reviewers. This is a list that was created for the year 2011.

Last Updated 4/30/12