Home Libraries Flipping Your Library with Genrefication

Flipping Your Library with Genrefication

by Lori Gracey

As the world changes and new learning is required, more and more librarians are considering genrefication as a way of organizing books instead of doing them the standard way by author last name. Genrefication is the methodical process of reorganizing books by genre or category. It’s also sometimes called the “bookstore method,” as that is the way most bookstores are organized today.

Benefits of Genrefication

A time-consuming task, librarians must ask themselves what the benefits of completely redoing their collections are. The good news is that there are many. But the main upside is that students can more easily find the books that they are truly interested in reading. Whether they like adventure stories or fairy tales, mystery or historical fiction, scary or sports, all of the books on that particular topic are grouped together for them. It also helps the classroom teacher who might be teaching on a specific topic such as space. With genrefication, all of the books on that topic are together and available.

genrificationThe Process

Reorganizing your collection, whether it’s just fiction books or includes all books in the library, is a monumental task and not something to be done randomly. Here are some things to consider before getting started:

  • First, decide if it will work for your students.
  • Second, discuss the change with other librarians who have already made the change. 
  • Third, talk with your campus leadership about what this project will involve, including how long the library may have to be closed.
  • Fourth, order your labels and supplies.
  • Fifth, find volunteers to help you!
  • Finally, make a plan.

The Plan

You may choose to have your library software company, such as Follett, do the genrefication for you. But if you want to do it on your own, the first step is to think about the different categories of books you want to have. You can see examples of elementary, middle school, and high school for both fiction and non-fiction here. Once you have the genres determined, then it’s time to prepare your collection. Here is a great how-to guide with tons of tips to help. You next need to take a look at your physical space in the library and decide where each topic will best fit. Then it’s time to begin flipping your library!

Once the process is complete, be sure to provide some fun activities to help both students and staff discover where their favorite genres are now located. Consider a scavenger hunt or QR code adventure. Be sure that you have lots of colorful signage up so that everyone can see where the different categories are in your library.

Additional Resources

I would love to hear from those of you who have already completed this process. What tips and tricks can you share with those librarians just beginning to think about it? 

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