Wednesday, January 15, 2014

100 Books to Read Before Kindergarten

Last year our staff of children's librarians put together a 100 Books to Read Before Kindergarten booklist.  Here is our story.

Why Make a Booklist?
There were a number of factors that contributed to us wanting to create this type of booklist.
  1. We have a large early childhood population.  Story time and young children's programming are huge for us.
  2. Our parents frequently asked for recommendations.
  3. We have three locations and 8 ys librarians.  We all had different opinions on recommendations and booklists.  By creating one booklist, we started being consistent across our library system.
The Process
If you decide to create your own 100 Books booklist, my first recommendation is to start early.  It took us 9 months to go from first draft to completed booklist.

We started off by culling other 100 Books booklists for recommendations.  We also added our own favorite "must have" titles.  List #1 had 191 titles when we were finished.  Then, we took a vote. (It felt like our own Newbery or Caldecott election!)

After the first vote we were down to 163 titles.  Our next step was to check our book suppler, Baker & Taylor, to see what the availability was for each title.  None of our locations had every title and our goal was that for our 100 Books, we would have them all at each location.  Out-of-print titles were removed from the list at this time.  For example, when we created our list, Ed Emberley's Go Away, Big Green Monster! was not available.  We substituted it for another popular Emberley title-Chicken Little.  We also wanted our copies to be hardcover, rather than paperback or pop-up, because we wanted them to last.  This pulled some more titles from the list.  Then we voted one last time.

Once we had our final list, we wanted to put it into our customers' hands.  First, we decided to label each of our 100 Books with a hot pink star.  This way they stand out on our shelves.  We labelled every format for one of our titles, including board books and book & cd kits.

Next, we gave our list to our community relations specialist to make it spiffy.  She had copies printed for us and made us a poster.

The Result
This has been an extremely popular initiative for our library system.  The parents love it!  It is easy to get immediate feedback by checking our returned books that need to be shelved.  There is often many pink starred books on the carts.

From a staffing perspective, it has also taken a task off of us.  While I will talk to anyone about books at any time, there are many savvy parents who grab the booklist and head to the shelves on their own.  This frees up my time to help the next person.  In this day and age where staffing is being cut, this is a good thing.

So what made the final list?  Check out our 100 Books to Read Before Kindergarten here

1 comment:

  1. This is a very interesting list with old and newer included. I love the shout out to our state for you including "The Legend of Sleeping Bear"!


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