The Library organizes materials according to several major reading level categories. A guide of corresponding grade levels is listed below to help in selecting and locating materials for youth. Additional discussion of each level follows.
Quick estimate of Reading Level:
Locating Materials on Library Shelves
Library shelf location of youth materials depends on reading level category, whether the item is Fiction ("story") or Nonfiction ("true information on a subject") and material format (book, paperback - "PB", audiobook, etc.).
(Note: Our nonfiction contains a few special sections containing what might possibly be considered stories, such as the 800's literature section including works such as poems, plays and ancient classics, and the 390's Customs and 290's Religion (& myth) sections, both which contain some folk, fairy tales and myths.)
Fiction is shelved based on author's last name, in conjunction with its reading level designation.
Most nonfiction is shelved according to subject, with a Dewey Decimal Call Number. Our biographies (and autobiographies) are labeled B and shelved in a separate Biography section, according to the subject's last name.
E - Easy books are for the youngest library users and contain several subcategories.
Most E books are picture books, which are usually read by an adult to preschoolers. Vocabulary in picture books can range from use of only very simple words to introducing special advanced words (especially in rhyme.)
A special subcategory of E books is the board book collection. These are small, colorful, extra study books meant to be held and handed by infants. Due to their size they are often shelved in a special location.
A distinct subcategory of Easy is the ER - Easy Reader books. These books are intended for beginning readers, K- Grade 2 (or 3). The vocabulary is intended for new readers to practice reading for themselves. This collection contains many series which continue with familiar characters. Easy Readers are usually shelved in separate location.
Easy nonfiction has a range of preschool to Grade 2. This collection is shelved separately and is organized by the Dewey Call Number assigned to each book.
J - Junior books cover the wide range of reading ability of middle to junior-high schoolers.
Junior category is roughly Grade 3 - 6, although there is some overlap on the lower end with the ER category and some overlap on the upper end with books for up to Grade 8.
The reading ability in these grades can vary quite a bit and an individual's ability is ever-changing.
Interest in the book's topic and length of book are key factors in successfully matching a book with any specific reader.
A subcategory is J PB or junior paperback. To take advantage of the smaller size of paperbacks, these are often shelved separately from the J or Junior hardback books. But they are otherwise similar to the J editions.
J (and also YA) nonfiction items are labeled with their reading level, but are interfiled with the main (adult) nonfiction collection. These books were specifically written for reading level and perspective of the grades indicated. JB or junior biographies are interfiled with the rest of the biographies.
YA - Young Adult books are written primarily for teens and pre-teens (aka "tweens").
The YA category of fiction is intended for the reading level and interest of junior and senior high schoolers. For most junior high readers, there is some overlap of interest and reading level between the YA and J collections. (Example: Redwall series by Jacques is YA, but many avid younger fantasy readers enjoy this series. )
The YA fiction collection also contains a number of books which explore more serious or mature themes: many social issues, difficult personal decisions and choices, hardships and relationships for example. Since a more advanced maturity of reader is assumed, selection of specific YA books for specific readers should be a family choice.
YA PB or Young Adult paperbacks are often shelved separately to take advantage of their smaller size.
YA nonfiction, like J nonfiction, is usually interfiled with the main (adult) nonfiction collection, arranged by Dewey Number.
Adult books are uncategorized by reading level. Although they are not specifically written for youth, most would be accessible reading for fluent readers in upper high school.
Adult fiction incorporates a wide range of subjects and tastes, and are usually not rated by reading level or age appropriateness. Most high school students would be expected to read some adult classics. (Lord of the Ring by Tolkien or Pride and Prejudice by Austen are examples of titles students often read.)
Nonfiction materials are arranged according to its Dewey Number. Biographies are a special section of nonfiction that are shelved separately with a B label and arranged the subject's last name.
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