The great genrefication project of 2012-2013 is now complete (or at least 90 percent complete). The books are all settled in their nice new genre shelves. I want to use this post to take a look back at the process.

First, the”why” of it. I can’t tell you how many times students come into the library asking, “Where are the (insert genre here) books?” Previously, my response had been to point to the fiction section and offer some remark about some books in that genre having genre stickers on the spine.  Another common scenario would be a student asking for a read-alike, and my leading them around the entire fiction section when we were really only looking for a science fiction book. These scenarios, plus an understanding that most students look for books based on their interests, not based on author’s last name lured me to summon the courage to tackle this project.

Now for the “how” of it.
1.  I had to decide on my genres. Based on my collection, student interest, and teacher requirements, I selected these 8 genres: adventure, fantasy, science fiction, realistic fiction, historic fiction, sports fiction, mystery, and suspense/horror.
2. Every fiction book in the library was then stickered to reflect its assigned genre. (Realistic fiction is the exception; it has no spine sticker.)  As we added the stickers, we also changed the call number in the catalog to reflect the genre. F CAR became F CAR (Sus). As we did this, we returned the books to their home on the shelves still arranged by author’s last name. (**A note about this step: It was scary at first. Many judgment calls had to be made. Many books could fit into several genres. At first this was intimidating to me, but I soon began to think that whatever my choice of genre for a particular book, the book would probably enjoy increased circulation over shelving by author’s last name (even if I didn’t choose the best genre for the book.))
3. One most of the books had been assigned their genre, the great book shuffle began. Over the course of a long weekend and a few school days, the books were moved from their original homes to their new genre shelving assignments. Of course, a little over halfway through the shuffle, I  realized that all of the adventure, realistic, and historic books needed to be moved a few shelves over, so the shuffle continued.

The result: 90 percent of the fiction books are sitting nicely in their new homes. However, there is still a nice pile of books in my office awaiting a genre assignment. There are still a lot of books checked out that may upset some of the shelf arrangement when they are returned. And every new fiction book I buy will still have to be labeled by genre and recataloged. But the pay off will be worth it.

My next steps:
1. Making a big deal of the new arrangement to my students and staff.
2. Having nice vinyl signs made for each genre as I find the funding for them.
3. Enjoying the increase in circulation and the joy that the students have as they find “new” books in the genres that they love.


About tkslibrarian

Middle school science teacher--hoping to inspire wonder
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