100 Scope Notes
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Endangered Series #8: The Kids of the Polk Street School

Popularity comes, popularity goes. As librarians we’re always balancing between what will circulate like crazy and what we need to have in the collection. And we’re not the Library of Congress – we can’t (and shouldn’t) keep everything.

An endangered series is one that appears to be waning in terms of popularity. But popularity isn’t everything. Should it stay, or should it go? Or think of it this way – if you were starting a library today, would this series make the cut? Let’s discuss.

A couple weeks back, A Fuse #8 Production brought up The Kids of the Polk Street School as a possible candidate for this series. At that very moment, the series was on our cart for weeding consideration. I take this as a sign from the blog post gods. Therefore…

Polk Street

The Kids of the Polk Street School by Patricia Reilly Giff, illustrated by Blanche Sims

First appearing in 1984, The Kids of the Polk Street School became a staple in library collections.

The Case for Keeping: School stories fill an important role in children’s literature – they legitimize and affirm the experiences of the elementary school set (as well as, you know, usually being pretty funny and entertaining). And young readers’ appetite for these kinds of books has proven steady.

The Case for Not: Nothing groundbreaking here – just a case of a series getting on in years and seeing dwindling circulations as other options continue to pop up.

Refresh?: In the aughts, the series was updated with new covers.

Polk Street 1

My Verdict: We let this one go.

How are you handing this series in your library?


Endangered Series #1: The Boxcar Children

Endangered Series #2: The Hardy Boys

Endangered Series #3: American Girl

Endangered Series #4: The Baby Sitter’s Club

Endangered Series #5: The Bailey School Kids

Endangered Series #6: Cam Jansen

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. I would let this series go myself too, but yikes I don’t like the updated covers at all! Do you think they were inspired by the “Who Is/Was” biography series?

  2. Frances says

    i literally JUST let this series go this week, after trying for several years to get them circulating. Too many other options, I guess, but it does break my heart!