25 March 2010

Quick Reads return to library

Sometimes the simplest ideas make a big difference.

A few years ago a section with books for emerging readers (those who would prefer shorter and simpler texts) was dispersed. The reason for this was a comment from a member of the college staff that it might embarrass less literacy-able students if others saw them going to the shelf with those books. The result was unfortunate: several hundreds of good books were buried among others and hardly ever used.

Librarians have tried teaching emerging readers and pathfinders catalogue searching skills. It was not successful, as searching requires a certain level of literacy which was not present yet in some of our users. It was sad to see that we had under-used resources and, at the same time, there were learners whose needs we could not satisfy. There was something wrong with our practice.

Eventually, we decided to remove Quick Reads publications and similar books from the main classification sequence. Instead of a shelf case at the back, as years ago, the most prominent spot in the library in Nuneaton has been allocated for that collection. Since then, hardly a day passes without Quick Reads being borrowed. Tutors come with learners to guide their emerging interests in reading, while learners come on their own to browse through a few shelves. Library staff now have opportunities for assisting our emerging readers in discovering ever greater possibilities. A simple idea has turned to be a real success.

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