Something new

Orange City Public Library director Amanda Vasquez holds a children’s book that under the new system would be filed under “The Little House, Juvenile Fiction/Classics.” 

Tom Kane

ORANGE CITY—A new book organizing system will be put into place for a trial run at the Orange City Public Library.

The system, called BISAC — Book Industry Subject and Category — assigns subject headings to materials, and organizes the materials according to those subjects, said library director Amanda Vazquez.

“The BISAC system should make it much easier for users to browse the collection and find books that interest them,” Vasquez said. “Currently, materials are organized alphabetically by last name. If you want to find a book on firefighters, you would have to search the library’s catalog and look in several different locations to find multiple books.

“The BISAC organization will mean that even in the fiction section, materials will be organized by topic, so all of the firefighter books will be shelved together and the spine label will indicate the main subject of the book,” she said.

The move to implement the new system, made by the library board of trustees at its March 20 meeting, occurred one month after a petition circulated around town which called for the segregation of 168 books with homosexual, bisexual and transsexual content.

The petition, which received 347 signatures in eight days, was started by Terry Chi, an assistant psychology professor at Northwestern College in Orange City. The petition called for clear labeling and separate shelving of books dealing with LGBTQ issues; a rating service on the library computer terminal and online; and stopping further acquisition of LGBTQ books from being placed on shelves without a public discussion beforehand.

Four topics have been selected as the library staff works on implementing the trial run, which will begin June 4. The trial run and will last through the summer months and the popular summer reading program.

Vazquez said the system should make it easier for library users to know, at a glance, what the book in their hand is about and to find materials on subjects that interest them and their families.

The trial run topics are:

  • Animals;
  • Action & Adventure;
  • Bedtime & Dreams;
  • Business, Careers & Occupations.

Vazquez said the library has significantly more traffic during the summer reading program, so hopefully testing the system out then will allow a greater number of library users to try it out and offer feedback.

“The library and board will be listening for feedback from users about whether they think the BISAC system is more user-friendly than the current system,” she said. “We will also look at the statistics, comparing the circulation rate for materials in the current organization and BISAC to see whether there was a difference in their usage.”

The library board, on March 20, also addressed the challenge to the children’s book “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress,” which is about a little boy who loves wearing a tangerine dress. Board members voted unanimously to keep the book on the shelves.