I was nervous to share this genrefication idea with the Middle School Librarian and Assistant Librarian, after all what I was suggesting wouldn’t happen over night, but they jumped on board without hesitation. I was thrilled! With all the debate over the issue, I couldn’t believe they didn’t need any convincing, so before anyone could second guess themselves we had our first meeting.
The goal? Make a plan – where do we begin? We decided to start with genres, once we knew our genres we could assign books. Easy, right? Wrong! After 45 minutes we had somewhat agreed on 10 genres. Why 10? For some reason, 10 just sounded good at the time. We then printed out shelf lists for the MS and US fiction sections and put them in binders. We gave ourselves a month to assign each book a genre.
Original Genre List: Scific/Fantasy, Comedy/Humor, Action/Adventure, Realistic, Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction, Western, Sports, Graphic Novel, Love/Romance
What really happened… Firstly, 10 genres was not enough – we had to expand, but could we agree? Secondly, a month was simply not realistic; there were thousands of books in each collection, and the US collection hadn’t been weeded in 14 years!
Second attempt at Genre List: We separated Science Fiction and Fantasy (two completely different genres), got rid of Westerns (this could go with action adventure), separated mystery from suspense/thriller novels, and created categories for Classics and also Contemporary / World.
This time we were happy again, but not for long…
What is a Classic?
I challenge you to come up with an answer that more than one person completely agrees with. The debate continues here in the library, I’ve consulted with anyone who will listen. My current feeling is to add these titles (whatever they are) to a vague Literature category
What to do with all those books that don’t easily fit in a genre. The books that aren’t written for teens but are sometimes read by teens (or their teachers). These books are realistic (for lack of a better genre) but due to an absence of teenage characters, we wanted to give them a separate genre. I’ve been given many suggestions: Literature, Human section, Contemporary, Adult – but none seem to fit. The dilemma continues.
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