Pluto Issues and Half Moons: The Space Books #ShelfChallenge 2013 #vsla

Thanks to Matthew Winner @MatthewWinner aka The Busy Librarian I have finally finished a project that’s needed doing for…well…a Googolplex of years? Is that what Carl Sagan would say? For my #ShelfChallenge I evaluated the Space section (the 520’s) at my K-4 school library. I’m not sure I followed Matthew’s definition of the Shelf Challenge exactly because I didn’t read each of the 74 books cover to cover, but I did at least skim each one so I’m going to count it. I put this section on my to-do list because a classroom teacher correctly pointed out that the reading levels of many of the library’s space books were not a good match for the grade levels that study the moon and the solar system as classroom units.

I found 29 books that I needed to remove from the collection for three main reasons: outdated information about Pluto, confusing information about half and quarter moons, or reading levels too high to be useful at my K-4 school.

Pluto Issues:

photo 1Quite a few books with this kind of information about Pluto. I removed the outdated books specifically about Pluto a few years ago, but the older books about the solar system as a whole need replacing too.

Reading Level Mismatch:


These all have pretty dense chunks of text, long sentences, lots of vocabulary words that are not well defined. Fortunately the library does have some other series about the planets at more appropriate reading levels.

Half Moon? Quarter Moon?

photo 2

photo 4

photo 3

So what is that letter D shaped phase of the moon really called? Both NASA and the U.S. Navy call it a quarter moon, so I guess I’ll go with that. Time to look for some more recent books about the moon.

So now I have a space section where the books are accurate and better matched to student reading levels:


And I also have a collection development plan for the 520s: new books about the moon, the planets and the solar system, at appropriate reading levels for my students.

Thanks, Matthew! I needed the #ShelfChallenge to finally finish this project!



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