Monday, October 14, 2013

To Genre-fy or Not To Genre-fy

So I think I am going to create a little chaos in my library. Right now my fiction section looks like this
pretty, right?  Books shelved by author so the students can find the Rick Riordan books in the "Rs" and the Beverly Cleary books in the "Cs". But let's be real, how many times does a student ask, "Ms., Where are the Dan Gutman books?" because if they know the author is Dan Gutman, they know to find them in the "Gs". Don't they?  The questions that I get a hundred times a day are "Where are the scary books?" (Translation: where is a chapter book ghost story) or "Where are the adventure books?" (Translation: I just read one of the I Survived.. books and want something like that one).  

A few of the middle schools in my district have started to genre-fy their fiction collections... meaning to shelve the books by category - mystery, scary, adventure, fantasy, etc. I have always been against doing this because I felt like if I did it at my library, then when students go to other libraries that shelve by author they would be lost.  But the more that I think about it, and the more kids are asking about books by genre, I think it could be beneficial.  What do you think?  I'd love to hear about any experiences other librarians have had with genre-fying or thoughts about the subject.


  1. Will be watching with interest. Once upon a time? Truly would have said "NO WAY, they need to learn how to use the online catalog and then they can find whatever they want in whatever library they're in." But ... you know why that thought's possibly changing. :P

    1. And see? I just forgot to add my blog link. But seriously. It's better if you do.

  2. You and I are on the same wavelength apparently. I have been through the same thought process and found your post when I searched for definition of genre-fy to add to the invitation I am giving my student library assistants, current and former. I would be very interested in comparing notes with you on this process. I have set aside 11/8-11/11 to genrefy my middle school library.

  3. Hi Sharyn - I actually decided to take the plunge and go for it last year and I LOVE it! I made two more posts about it in Dec and Jan explain the process that I went through if you want to take a look. Feel free to send any questions that you have. I am so happy that I did it.