reorganizing fiction … done!

This week I finally finished this huge project. I’m thrilled with how wonderful it looks and it already seems to be appealing to both our regular and our reluctant readers.

fiction by genre adventure

I asked a student yesterday if she liked the new arrangement:

“Yes, it’s a lot easier to find what I want.”

Another student, when I showed her the Sci-Fi-Fantasy section:

“Oh, these are my books …”

She was down there for about 15 minutes because there were “so many good books to choose from.”

fiction by genre horror

And, from my boss:

“Anything that makes their lives easier makes our lives easier.”

fiction by genre sportsGoals achieved:

  • Entire fiction section weeded
  • Genre stickers added to all relevant books
  • Books needing repair identified, pulled, and repaired
  • Books in need of replacement identified


  • Classics identified and put in a resource list (stickers will be added by our student aide) – 10th graders are required to read a “classic” 2nd semester and the hunt to identify an appealing one has always been horrible
  • Terrible collection of (mostly) outdated and unused VHS tapes ruthlessly weeded – we needed the space to extend the “regular” fiction section
  • Short story and biography collections gained a little bit of much needed space
  • Display space also gained for short story and biography collections
  • I improved my upper arm muscle tone – I must have moved some sections of fiction about 10 times in an effort to minimize disruption once we started breaking out the genre sections ;)

We have some more signage to take care of next, but this is basically done!

Circulation statistics will be watched closely for the next few months … I’m betting they go up for fiction.

reorganizing fiction …

. . . by genre.

This is our big project at work for the school year, and I’m coordinating it.

Yes, we’ve thought about the messiness and time involved, but I have a plan to make it as smooth as possible.  Right now, I’m working backwards through the fiction section, weeding, adding genre stickers, and changing the call numbers in the collection.  We use an external MARC editor (MARC Magician) to tidy up catalog records, so I’m working on the records in that program and I won’t import them back in until I’m all the way through.  That should minimize kids’ confusion with different call numbers in the catalog.  It’s also freeing up shelf space (I don’t know how long it’s been since fiction was last weeded, but I’ve been here 10 years and it hasn’t been done in that time – so we’re really being quite ruthless).

We’ve decided to be arbitrary about books that fall into more than one category.  We’re going to go with which one we think they’d have the most appeal in.  The catalog record will still reflect the different genres too.  Authors who write more than one genre will be separated, but we’re hoping that might actually cause kids to move outside their comfort zones occasionally.

We’ve agonized about continuing to keep new fiction separate, as we’ve been doing for the last few years, but we’ve decided to try not having a dedicated section.  We’ll have enough shelf space at the top of each section for displaying books within that genre, so we’ll still be able to “feature” new fiction that way.

At this point, I’m about halfway through the fiction collection.  I started in the Zs and I’m working backwards so that by the time I get to the As I will have created some free space at the beginning of the fiction shelving to put the first genre.

The genres we’ll be breaking out are:

  • Action & Adventure: comprising adventure, war stories, and westerns
  • Historical fiction
  • Horror
  • Mystery
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy (including fractured fairy tales)
  • Sports

We’ve been back and forth in the debate about separating out Romance fiction, but we’ve decided not to.  We think the negative connotations might outweigh any benefits.

All the rest of fiction will fit in the remaining shelving at the end of the genres sections.  The layout of the room should be conducive to this, we hope!