Genre-fication in the secondary Library
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Genre-fication in the secondary Library

Yes, that’s right, you read this correctly, genre-fication not gentrification. As our secondary library continues to expand, we initiated a pilot shelving system that we hope will increase checkouts and promote additional usability within the library.

By Eleanor Good, secondary librarian and TOK teacher

Genre-fication is a process of using subjects or genres to shelve books, rather than organising them with numbers, as the Dewey Decimal System or the Library of Congress system does.

For example, if we were using the Dewey Decimal System, a book on History would be shelved under the 900 section as 900 = History. However genre-fication takes out the ‘middle man’ and eliminates these number entirely. As such we would simply shelve this book in a section called ‘History’.

Take a look at this handy infographic, discussing the difference between these systems.

While there are many benefits to genre-fication, this project is being run as a pilot, because changing our entire shelving system for all our books would be a gigantic endeavour. Eventually that may happen, however, first we want to ensure that we have a simple and clear system to use before we extend it to the entire library.

The way books are shelved in book stores

Our particular genre-fication system is based on categories from the BISAC system, the way books are shelved in bookstores. This makes for ease of use and puts less steps between students finding books and checking them out. It consists of a marker on the shelf, designating the particular section AND an icon on each book themselves/on the shelf marker, making shelving easy and clear.

For example, here is an example of the History shelf marker, designating the History section:

We then include an icon on each History book (see below), as well as on the shelf marker itself. All someone has to do to reshelve the book is simply match the icons.

There are often many detailed ins and outs to being a librarian that aren’t always visible, especially when it comes to cataloging and shelving. We hope this gave you a bit more information about genre-fication as well as a discussion of why we are pursuing this change.