Last week I took the plunge that many other school libraries have already done. I reorganized the fiction section into genres. Scary to some, but I am liking it. So are the students.
The reason for this change is to help our students find the books they are interested in. Students think like people, not like librarians. They want to know where the scary books are, or the mysteries, or the sports. And they don’t spend a lot of time checking the catalog. Even though I had genre stickers on those books already, it was not easy for students to find the books they wanted on the shelves. The stickers sort of all blended in together. What a difference the reorganization made. It is so much easier for students to see the books when they are organized by genre. As I told each class this week about the change, their eyes lit up. They ran right to the genre they wanted to read and began browsing for books.
I ultimately chose 8 genres for our library based on what is most popular with our students: Adventure, Animal, Fantasy, History, Humor, Mystery, Scary, and Sports. I also created a general fiction section for those books that do not fit in with a genre. I created mini posters to help students locate the sections more quickly and to help them understand what is included in each section. Sometimes I combined a few genres due to a lack of books to justify its own genre (science fiction was added to fantasy, war was added to history, realistic fiction was grouped into general fiction).
I found it very interesting that as I grouped books, I could easily see which subjects were lacking in material (scary, sports), and which subjects were the largest (fantasy, history). As I prepare orders for next year, I will be looking for more titles to add to these groups.
The final change was updating the catalog. I added a three letter code after FIC (for fiction) to help know where the books were located on the shelves ADV, ANI, FAN, HIS, HUM, MYS, SCA, SPO). I left the general fiction as FIC. I have to thank our BOCES school library system for their assistance on this. I sent them the list of bar codes, and they did batch edits for me. So much quicker that touching each individual record (again- a librarian concern) This way, as the librarian, I can still find the books easily, but should the students choose to search for books that way, they can find them as well.
It has only been one week, but I am already seeing how the students find it easier to look for books. After all, isn’t that what the library organization should be all about?