Fiction and its genres

The librarian before me had started to genrefy the fiction section. He had a couple of things he’d started that he asked if I would continue, and this was one of them. Most *everything* is now sorted and shelved based on a genre. Sorting was a full two-day job since most of the books already had an identified genre. There are books in every section, however, that still need to be labeled, and I’ve got a sizable stack I need to research a bit to know where in the world they should rest.

Here are some things I’ve noticed:

  1. Some things are just flat out hard to classify.
  2. Some things are way too easy to classify and classify and classify. Some books could go in multiple sections, which makes me wonder if we should have a general fiction section.
  3. Some sections are really large. Realistic and Fantasy are in this library. Maybe there are some sub-genres that could be pulled out?
  4. Some books have too many stickers on the spines. *bleh*

I think you need some written guidelines before you start. Like:

  1. At about what date does historical fiction start and realistic fiction end. I know the technical definition, but does that serve the best purpose for our students?
  2. The lines between some genres are fuzzy. Are “animal” books going to be any book with an animal in it? Or are will it house the realistic ones with the others going into fantasy? Same thing with adventure. Realistic only or should super-hero books go here too?
  3. Series! Geronimo Stilton can be split up and go in multiple genres and that would be ok. The stories aren’t dependent on each other, but should they be split up? Or when I kid asks for Geronimo Stilton, should I say, “those books are all in the ____ section”?
  4. Series 2! Other series are a must to keep together, so you need to look at the series as a whole. Make a decision, and stick with it.

One thing I don’t really like about this process is that an author’s work may not be together. That kind of bugs me, but I think I can work with it.

OK, now where do I put all those Barbie books?

3 thoughts on “Fiction and its genres

  1. It’s wonderful that you’re tackling this genrefication. Is that a word? It makes sense to me as a reader. But I can see how it has its drawbacks as well. When I first step in the door of OTS this fall I’m heading to the library first thing! Lots of exciting changes.

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