I’ve been hearing more talk lately about the Genrefication of school library fiction collections, which means that rather than shelving fiction books strictly by author’s last name, the books are grouped by genre type, like in a bookstore (mystery, horror, romance, adventure, fantasy, historical fiction, etc.) Imagining what is involved in completing a task like this, I just shake my head and wonder how on earth I could make the time for such a change. Blogger Nicole Ogden is ready the transition with enthusiasm, as she described in her blog Genrefication, Let’s Forge Ahead! Inspired by the successes that other librarians have reported in increased circulation and patron satisfaction, she points us to a few helpful articles and a webinar which walk the librarian though the process of changing the way the collection is shelved.
I attended the recent California School Librarian Association Conference, where the keynote speaker Tiffany Whitehead (aka Mighty Little Librarian) spoke on this same topic- transforming the collection’s arrangement to a genre based organization. People were buzzing after the keynote about whether they were willing to make such a major shift away from tradition. I’ve mulled over the reasons for this kind of changeover, I can see how it may be time well spent. After all, we shelve books so they can be discovered by the reader when they need it most. And like the articles all noted, students come to the library and request books by genre, almost never by author’s name. “Can you recommend a romance?” or “Where do you keep the mysteries?” are common questions we hear every day. And in the rearranging we can check the currency of our collection and weed unneeded volumes. So just because we have always shelved books by the Dewey system, putting books in order by genre may be the best, most user-centric solution we have. And when a library puts the patron’s needs as the first concern, it is doing a good job.
Will I try the switch in my own library? I’m still thinking about it. But Ogden’s article and the resources she recommended have me feeling like we should give it a try.
Ogden, N. (2017, March 15). Genrefication: Let’s forge ahead! [Blog post].
Retrieved from On the Road to Teacher Librarianship website: