Adventures in Genrefying

My genrefying journey was a somewhat convoluted one.  I’m not sure where to start, so just going to jump in and begin.

Step 1: I attended a workshop on genrefying and thought, “I will NEVER do that in my library.” I should have known then that genrefying was in my future, because anytime I say never…

Step 2: Decided to sticker books by genre because my teachers were requiring students read books in a variety of different genres and the teachers did not know the genres well enough to help students decide what genre a book was without me (I’m good but not 715 x 40 good).

Step 3: Weeded like mad and then rearranged my collection by genre. This included rearranging the sections. I also moved manga and graphic novels over by fiction.

Step 4: This is what comes next!  After spending a year in the trial stages, I’m working on getting approval to add sublocations the library catalog so that the computer has what section the books are in so people can find easily. This is very helpful for cross genre books and also for subs. I’d also like to reconsider some genre classifications. My fantasy category is too large, so I’m thinking about breaking it down a little further.

My overall impressions after one year:

Circulation is about the same, but we are no longer doing required silent reading as a campus because the curriculum won’t allow it and teachers have stopped doing the forty book challenge as well because they were told they could not. Pause to take that in for a minute and share my sense of loss.  Next year I plan to do this through the library with a prize as a motivator instead of a requirement. Next year should be a better indicator also because I made this change in right before Thanksgiving.

Reluctant Readers love this change. They know a “safe” place to look for books they are sure to enjoy. When I see them in a section frequently that is a good prompt to me to help them find another section they will love as well. Students are much more willing to help each other find a section of books then they ever were to find an individual book.

Genre facts have been interesting. Some genres circulate much more when grouped together (action adventure, steampunk, realistic fantasy) but some like historical fiction and realistic fiction circulated less. Think I need to focus more on displays in those areas.

Avid readers struggled initially because, like me, they knew where books where visually on the shelves. Once they got used to the new system they were fine, but they were not a big fan after the first week because they are used to being self-sufficient and not having to ask where a book might be if it is a multi-genre book. I’m hoping sublocations will fix this.

For me, it has taken a little getting used to because personally I love abc order, but one of my jewels summed it up best. He is a reluctant reader (frequently in trouble and easily succumbs to peer pressure) and he usually comes into the library when none of his friends are around. Here is the conversation:

Me: “Can I help you find a book?”

Him: “No thanks”

Me: “Oh man, you won’t let me practice my super powers and help you find a book??”

Him: (he looks at his shoes for a minute and then up at me and I’m shocked to see tears in his eyes) “You have already worked your magic. For the first time I can do it…I can really find a book in the library on my own.”

Sigh. What can I say to that?

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One thought on “Adventures in Genrefying

  1. Thanks for writing this post. We just weeded heavily in fiction and we’re putting genre labels on like mad, so I’m edging close to genrefying. You’ve made some excellent points.

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