Thursday, December 1, 2016

Genrefying a High School Library

Deligencia, Nick

Minton, C. (2014, May 4). "Genrefying" a high school library: A detailed planning document [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Summary:  This planning document details multiple facets of the process of genrefying one high school library.  The author provides the rationale and context for the project, basically to make the library more patron-centric and match how students actually search for books (by genre, not alphabetically by author). The library expects to see increased circulation, as “non-reader” patrons will more quickly find books in their interest areas and as “reader” patrons discover new authors writing in the student’s preferred style.

The actual process is outlined in five steps: (1) assigning a genre to every title, (2) applying new spine labels to every book, (3) color-coding, (4) shelving, and (5) signage.  Each subset of the process is described, including time-saving tips and strategies for “subject integrity.”  A video and several pictures provide visual content for visual learners.  The actual 14 categories used are listed in the article, along with examples of signage for each section and a poster/visual guide to the color codes.

The post concludes with a reference list.  

Comments:  This was absolutely the “best of the best” that I read for INFO 266.  There has been a fair amount of discussion among teacher librarians in my district about the value of genrefication in a school library.  Perhaps the most useful content of the post was related to how much time to expect such a project to take.  The poster’s collection is much smaller than the one in my library but since information about how much work could be accomplished in an hour, it is possible to adjust the timeline for the scale of your own library.  For example, the author processed “30-35 records every hour” in the library catalog, which provides a method for estimating how much time such a project would take (just the cataloging part, not the re-labeling).

This article is a must-read if a genrefication project is on your horizon.

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