Disclaimer: This is not going to be a post about why we need to genrefy or the epic debate among librarians across the world on the pros and cons. You do you. Only you know your students, your staff, your school improvement plan, etc. etc. etc. No judgement here!
This is a post about how I completed our genrefication project and how I prepared students for the new layout afterwards because it was a decisions that benefits our students and aligns directly to our school improvement plan.
Deciding on genres is hard. And easy. And hard. It's easy because there are so many others before me that have created genre lists already. It would be super simple just to copy and paste. It's hard because my brain jumps to subgenres and how important those are to nuances within genres...But at the end of the day, with help from my student advisory group and some awesome ELA teachers, here is what we came up with:
If you want the signs I created, those are located here. I used Canva to create the signs.
How to Label
Because most people are visual and I have a new media clerk (who has never been a media clerk before) and I have parent volunteers who come in to help shelve books, I decided to go with the genre stickers from Demco to make the genre as clear as possible. It makes it easier on all parties to see the sticker clearly. There is a part of me that genuinely does not like the visual sticker as it covers more of the spine. Not to mention cost is a concern for purchasing stickers for a large collection. I could have used colored book tape over the spine label to save on visual concerns and cost, but at the end of the day, I knew the stickers would work best for our needs.
Grouping & Moving the Books
This was the longest part of the process. I weeded books as I labeled books (as it had not been done in years with the previous media specialist) so I was able to see and count spaces as I was labeling. I decided to label and weed prior to moving anything. It made the journey much easier! Having a ton of book carts made this easier too. When I was ready to move the books, I was able to complete that in just one day.
I chose Classic Fiction to start with as it was one of our small genres and started by moving all of the books in that area to book carts. Then I added all of our books labeled Classic Fiction to that book shelf. After that, I grouped genres by theme (Classic Fiction went well with Historical Fiction, etc.). Once I started, it was like a snowball effect. People I've talked to say this sounds the most intimidating when they start the process, but this really was the least scary part to me.
Updating the Catalog System
I decided to not update our Destiny Catalog System by call number. Instead, I updated the sublocation and created categories for the genres to make this process a tad easier. Before you can do bulk updates, you need to create the sublocations and the categories.
To create sublocations
To create categories
To find out how I shared our new genre system with the students, visit Part 2 here!
School Librarian in Metro Atlanta