How Our Local Library Works

This week we took a scheduled trip to our local library with some of our friends.    We’ve been using this library for years, but thought that knowing more about the library system could help us navigate it.  While the children’s librarian, Mrs. Sara was speaking to the children, myself and the other moms received a refresher.

Mrs. Sara began by welcoming the children, talking about her responsibilities as a children’s librarian, and reading a book to them.  Mrs. Sara explained how books are catalogued and organized around the library.  All non-fiction (factual) books are numbered based on the Dewey Decimal System, while all fiction books are labeled and shelved based on the author’s last name.  The only exceptions are fairy tales and poetry, which are sorted according to the Dewey Decimal System. 

When we need to find a book, we can enter one of a variety of search information (title, author, subject, etc) in the library’s computer.  The computer catalogue tells us the call number for the book we want, which is on the spine of the book.  The call number will tell us whether the book is non-fiction or fiction based on the numbers or letters assigned to the book.  With this information, we know which shelves to search for our book.

Mrs. Sara also showed us how to check out and return a book with our own library card.  She took us on a tour of the library, which included bringing us into employee only spaces to see the inner workings of the library system.  We even got to see the “book hospital,” where damaged books are repaired.  Did you know you shouldn’t try to repair any damage to the books you’re borrowing? The library uses special book-safe materials for repairs.  

I was grateful this trip also turned into a great opportunity for helping the larger homeschool community around us, as Mrs. Sara was eager to find out how they could support our families with materials, programs, etc. at the library.  Isn’t that great?

While touring, we learned most of our library’s materials are not on the shelves, as you might think, but rather at people’s homes! If all materials were returned at the same time, there wouldn’t be enough space to hold them all! Isn’t that fascinating? I wonder if it’s true at your library, too.  Maybe you should ask!


  1. says

    Such a neat thought about all the books not being able to fit in the library at the same time! LOL makes me feel better when my giant stacks are overdue! :-/
    What would we homeschoolers do without our libraries?!

    • says

      Right?? : ) In the beginning, when Mrs. Sara was trying to engage our (mostly) boy littles, not a one would answer a question. But, then, the other moms and I all got a laugh when one of the boys confidently answered the question, “What happens when the books are late?” with “Fines!” Uh, yup!

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