How to Genrefy a Library: A Beginner's Guide to Getting Started (2023)

Julian at the Wedding by Jessica Love.

Julián and his abuela are going to a wedding. Better yet, Julián is in the wedding. Weddings have flowers and kissing and dancing and cake. And this wedding also has a new friend named Marisol. It’s not long before Julián and Marisol set off for some magic and mischief of their own, and when things take an unexpected turn, the pair learns that everything is easier with a good friend by your side. Jessica Love returns with a joyful story of friendship and individuality in this radiant follow-up to Julián Is a Mermaid.

(Video) How To Genrefy Your Collection

Have you ever felt a little lost or overwhelmed in a library as you try to find a good book? I know I have before. I’ll never forget an experience I had as a 6th grader. Our teacher often brought us to our school’s library, but no matter how frantically I scoured the shelves, I struggled to find a book that appealed to me. When I stumbled upon the book Ella Enchanted (still a favorite of mine), I began checking it out throughout the school year. I loved this book so much, I reread it to avoid facing the formidable task of finding something new. Along with some reader’s advisory assistance, I needed my library to genrefy.

So, What Does Genrefy Mean?

In a library, genrefication is the process of assigning genres to books with the intent of helping patrons find books of interest. Genrefication has become a hot topic in library conversations, especially as some associate it with abandoning the Dewey Decimal System. However, this does not always have to be the case with genrefication.

I believe genrefication works best when tailored to fit the needs of the library’s community. For example, some libraries may choose to genrefy their entire collections, while others may choose only the fiction section. Each library has its own unique needs, and I love that genrefication can look so different across libraries.

My Experience With Genrefication

I first learned how to genrefy in a library as a graduate intern in a middle school during my Master’s of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) program. Genrefying the fiction section became my special project, and I immersed myself in books and their genres. As the project took shape, I found great joy in helping students browse by genre.

Having graduated with my MLIS, I now work as high school library secretary. Upon starting the position, I delighted to discover that one of my new job responsibilities included genrefying the fiction section. Like the middle school I interned in, this library also valued genrefication with a focus on the fiction section. Nonfiction remained with Dewey.

(Video) Intro to Genrefication with Village Elementary Library

Whether considering to genrefy your school, public, or home library (yes, I shelf my books at home by genre now), check out my tips below to get started.

How to Genrefy a Library: A Beginner's Guide to Getting Started (2)

How to Genrefy Your Library

1. Decide How In-Depth You’d Like to Go

Before diving into genrefication, decide how far you’d like to go with the process. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I genrefy only fiction, or include nonfiction?
  • Am I going to just label the books by genre, or catalog them by genre as well?
  • After labeling the books by genre, should I move the books on the shelves into sections by genre, or keep their locations the same?

If you’re unsure which direction you’d like to take with genrefication, do some research about it online. Follett’s guide on Genrefication Best Practices could serve as a helpful resource. However, I’d also suggest reading personal stories from librarians who genrefied their libraries. Libraries often put their own spin on genrefication and reading about what worked or didn’t work for them can help as you plan for your own library.

2. Choose Your Genre Key and How to Label Your Books

Come up with a list of genres you’d like to classify your collection into. Consider the reading interests of your community as you formulate this. If you have diehard Dystopian fans amongst your patrons, you may want to create a Dystopian category separate from Science Fiction. If a majority of your readers gravitate towards suspenseful thrillers, consider making this category distinct from Action/Adventure or Mystery. Your genre key will serve as your guide while genrefying, so choose wisely!

Once you have your list of genres, think about how you’ll label each book. During my internship at the middle school library, we assigned each genre a color. With the help of our student library interns, we then placed a clear colored label over the spine label of each fiction book based on genre. We decided to follow the same genrefication system as the high school in the district. That way, once the students went on to the high school, they’d already feel comfortable using it.

(Video) Your Genrefication Questions Answered

At the high school library I work at now, the library team created unique call number codes for each genre. Some of these include:

  • CofA for Coming of Age
  • GN for Graphic Novels
  • HIST for Historical Fiction
  • MSTY for Mystery
  • SCFI for Science Fiction

Once we choose a book’s genre, we add its genre code to both the catalog record and on the book’s spine label. In the catalog, we’ll add the code to the book’s call number and as a subject.

For example, right now I’m reading The Wicked King by Holly Black, and its call number and spine label read “FIC FTSY Black.” Though we haven’t shifted the books’ positions on the shelves based on genre, listing the genre in the call number sets us up well to do so if we choose to. Its catalog record includes “Fantasy fiction” as a subject. This allows me to search fantasy fiction in the catalog and browse a list of all the books classified as such.

3. Choosing Genres (The Fun Part!)

Now we get to the fun part: genre selection. I love tasting an excerpt of each book and deliberating over which genre it falls in. Usually I can get a good sense of the book’s genre by one or more of the following methods:

(Video) Library Genrefication

  • Reading the book’s catalog description
  • Skimming the book’s cover blurbs and Library of Congress Subject Headings (located on a book’s copyright page)
  • Checking out the book’s description and genre suggestions in Titlewave or Goodreads

4. The Nitty Gritty of Book Pulling

At the middle school library, I initially created resource lists in the catalog of each genre by searching genre keywords. My student library interns then pulled the books from the lists, labeled them with genre stickers, and reshelved alphabetically by author. However, quite a few books slipped through the cracks and were missed on these lists. Eventually, I took a cart to the shelves and began methodically genrefying each book missed.

At the high school library, we undertook the project cart by cart right from the beginning, moving through the fiction section from A to Z. We’d fill a cart with a section of books and genrefy the books individually in the catalog. Then we’d place a new genre-coded spine label on the book, as well as a genre sticker. Demco has a great selection of genre stickers that we use. After the books receive their labels, we reshelve them alphabetically by author.

5. Shifting Books by Genre (Optional)

Once you’ve finished genrefying, you can opt to group the books by genre on the shelves if you’d like. For those interested, check out this librarian’s experiences.

Shifting books by genre on the shelves could make it easier for patrons to browse by a genre of interest. On the other hand, keeping the books alphabetical by author may make them easier to find if you’ve got an author in mind when browsing. This method also keeps books by the same author grouped together. Each option has its own benefits. Consider your library community and choose what you think will work best for them.

6. Promotion!

Once you’ve genrefyed your collection, share with your library community. In the middle school library, we laminated and posted genre keys throughout the fiction shelves and put together genre-themed book displays. We then held BreakoutEdu challenges that involved students navigating the new genre system. In the high school library, we feature signage with our genre key on our new book display case and group these new books by genre. Have fun and get creative with it!

(Video) Genrefying a School Library

A Final Note

Though genrefying may not be for everyone, I’ve found it to be my cup of tea, and I like that libraries approach it in so many different ways. When a library patron asks me for a book recommendation, one of the first things I ask now are what genres they enjoy. Having a genrefied collection allows me to more easily find good titles to suggest. I do my best to make sure no one feels like 6th grade me did, though I do still enjoy rereading Ella Enchanted from time to time.


What does it mean to genrefy the library collection? ›

So, What Does Genrefy Mean? In a library, genrefication is the process of assigning genres to books with the intent of helping patrons find books of interest. Genrefication has become a hot topic in library conversations, especially as some associate it with abandoning the Dewey Decimal System.

What is genrefication? ›

Genrefication is the process of organizing, classifying, and categorizing items into genres. This classification system can be easier for patrons that like to browse, and many bookstores use it for this reason.

How do you organize a library by genre? ›

Use your genre graphic and words on every label. Now, put a sticky label in the cover of each book to organize it by genre. Teacher Tip: As you create your genre labels, you might also want to think about fonts. Using a different font for every genre/topic label can also help students sort them into the correct bins.

How many types of book are there? ›

The two types of books can be further divided into many different subtypes, called genres.
List of Book Genres.
Political thrillerReligion, spirituality, and new age
SatireTrue crime
24 more rows

What is the importance of collection in library? ›

The process of continuously evaluating the library collection is called collection assessment. The purpose of collection assessment is to assure that the library's collection meets the current needs of the community by providing reliable, up-to-date, and attractive materials and other information sources.

What are the types of library collection? ›

A library's collection can include books, periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, films, maps, prints, documents, microform, CDs, cassettes, videotapes, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, e-books, audiobooks, databases, table games, video games and other formats.

How do you classify books in the library? ›

The Dewey Decimal system is a classification system used by libraries to arrange books via subject. Each book is issued a shelfmark number, usually found on the spine of the book, and arranged in numerical order.

How are library books categorized? ›

Libraries in the United States generally use either the Library of Congress Classification System (LC) or the Dewey Decimal Classification System to organize their books. Most academic libraries use LC, and most public libraries and K-12 school libraries use Dewey.

How do you shelve fiction library books? ›

Fiction is shelved by genre in alphabetical order, using the author's last name, first name, and the title of the book.

What are the 7 sections of library setup? ›

Sections in a library are: Acquisition, Technical Processing, Circulation, Reference, Periodicals, Maintenance, and Administration & Finance. Each Section performs specialized library activities.

How do you effectively manage a library? ›

  1. leadership and self-awareness;
  2. organizational awareness;
  3. project management;
  4. strategic and business planning;
  5. staying in touch with developments and innovations in the field;
  6. time management;
  7. budget and people management;
  8. working in a team;

How do you arrange the shelves in the library explain? ›

Shelving means arranging materials on shelves according to their classification number. Materials on the same subject have the same classification number, so they are arranged together alphabetically by the first three letters of the author's name, or by title if no author is given.

What are the 4 types of library? ›

Academic libraries serve colleges and universities. Public libraries serve cities and towns of all types. School libraries serve students from Kindergarten to grade 12. Special libraries are in specialized environments, such as hospitals, corporations, museums, the military, private business, and the government.

How do I start to write a book? ›

How to Write a Book
  1. Establish a consistent writing space.
  2. Hone in on your book idea.
  3. Outline your story.
  4. Do your research.
  5. Start writing and stick to a routine.
  6. Finish your first draft.
  7. Revise and edit.
  8. Write your second draft.
2 Mar 2022

What is the main purpose of a library? ›

The primary purpose of the public library is to provide resources and services in a variety of media to meet the needs of individuals and groups for education, information and personal development including recreation and leisure.

What are the three importance of library? ›

Public libraries play an important role in supporting education and literacy. They provide countless resources, such as educational materials, trainings, courses, scientific publications, etc. to visitors. Public libraries provide their services not only face-to-face, but some of them have also integrated e-learning.

What are three benefits of using the library? ›

Learn new skills: Libraries often offer free classes/programs where you can learn a new skill, craft, or explore career development opportunities. Quiet study spaces: Libraries have spaces for you to study, work, or read in peace and quiet. Free Wifi: Libraries also offer free Wifi for you to study, work, or read.

Who is father of library? ›

Ranganathan, in full Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan, (born August 9, 1892, Shiyali, Madras, India—died September 27, 1972, Bangalore, Mysore), Indian librarian and educator who was considered the father of library science in India and whose contributions had worldwide influence.

What are the 4 components of library? ›

The major components are schedules, notations, and index. It also states their distinguished features, such as generalia class, form divisions, book numbers, and devices for number synthesis which are not required in a knowledge classification.

What are the 10 sections in the library? ›

Sections of Library
  • Acquisition Section: Acquisition section is responsible for the selection and purchase of materials or resources. ...
  • Technical Section: ...
  • Circulation Section: ...
  • Reference Section: ...
  • Periodical Section: ...
  • Bound Volume Section: ...
  • Reprographic section: ...
  • Computer Section:

What are the 3 major categories for classifying books? ›

The most common systems in English-speaking countries are: Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) Library of Congress Classification (LCC) Colon classification (CC)

What are call numbers in a library? ›

Each book in the library has a unique call number. A call number is like an address: it tells us where the book is located in the library. Call numbers appear on the spines of books and journals and in the library's catalog. Note that the same call number can be written from top-to-bottom or left-to-right.

What are the 2 types of library classification? ›

Some of the popular classification systems are the Library of Congress Classification (LCC), the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) the Bliss Bibliographic Classification (BC), the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC), Cutter Expansive Classification, and the Colon Classification (CC); DDC and LCC being the most ...

What is library system? ›

The primary objective of any library system is to collect, store, organize, retrieve and make available the information sources to the information users. A library, as a system, is a subsystem of some super-system (an organization in any field, whether education, research or social service).

How many books should be in a library shelf? ›

1 to 30 books

Further Comments: The expert team behind this guide has concluded that 25 to 30 books represents a safe average estimate for how many books can fit on a single 31 inch shelf. Or, to put it more obviously, you can conceive of 1 to 30 books as the number that can easily fit on a single shelf.

When alphabetizing books do you include the? ›

Alphabetize titles letter by letter, ignoring any initial articles (A, An, or The or the equivalent in other languages) (p. 219). This is necessary when you have multiple titles by one author or when there is no author and the works cited entry begins with a title.

What is the most important section in the library? ›


The circulation section is the most important key to the library where books and other materials are to be checked in or out. Specific regulations may be learned here for borrowing books, fines, and lost books.

What is the head of a library called? ›

A university librarian, or chief librarian, is responsible for the library within the college structure, and may also be called the Dean of Libraries or Director of Libraries.

How is a library structured? ›

The hierarchy consists of cabinets, drawers, folders, folder groups (this level is optional in usage), and within the folders are the documents; documents can only reside in the folders. Folder groups are an optional extra layer of division in the library structure.

How can I improve my library skills? ›

Here are tips that will help students get started.
  1. Lead with librarians. Librarians are key to the success of assignments for students related to library research abilities. ...
  2. Establish concrete objectives. ...
  3. Application of the skill. ...
  4. Relevance is key. ...
  5. Involve library support services.

What are the most important rules in the library? ›

So, what are the rules for the libraries at high schools and colleges? High school library rules include: no food, return books on time, be quiet and respectful, don't lend books to others, don't write inside of the books, put books back in their place, and no running.

What makes a library successful? ›

Great Libraries Feature Multiple Attractions and Destinations. A surefire strategy for libraries is providing a series of smaller "places" within and around them to attract people. These attractions don't need to be elaborate to make the library a success.

How many ways 6 books can be arranged in a shelf? ›

Hence we have 720 ways to arrange the books on shelf.

How are materials arranged in libraries? ›

How are resources organized and arranged in a library or archive? Library materials are primarily organized by format (such as books, periodicals audio, video, microforms), or type (government documents, reference works, maps/atlases), then by size or subject.

What does in cataloging mean library? ›

March 22, 2020. Cataloging or Cataloguing or Library Cataloging is the process of creating and maintaining bibliographic and authority records in the library catalog, the database of books, serials, sound recordings, moving images, cartographic materials, computer files, e-resources etc.

How important is weeding deselection to your library collection? ›

It is the opposite of selecting material, though the selection and de-selection of material often involve the same thought process. Weeding is a vital process for an active collection because it ensures the collection stays current, relevant, and in good condition.

What does it mean to freeze a hold at the library? ›

Freezing a hold means that your position in the hold queue is skipped over until the hold is unfrozen. Freezing a hold allows you to time the arrival of some of your holds to a more convenient time for you.

How do you curate a library collection? ›

How To Curate Your Home Library, According To Book Experts
  1. Organize So You Can Easily Find Titles. There are a few ways you can organize your books at home. ...
  2. Sort Through Your Stacks. ...
  3. Create A To-Read Pile. ...
  4. Don't Limit Your Books To Shelves. ...
  5. Take Care Of Your Books. ...
  6. Make Your Library Unique To You.
5 Mar 2021

What are the 3 types of catalogue? ›

There are three types of inner forms of a catalogue, viz. alphabetical, classified and alphabetico-classed.

What are the 8 areas of cataloguing? ›

ISBD is divided into 8 "areas" of description: title and statement of responsibility; edition; material or type of resource specific; publication, production, distribution, etc; physical description; series; note; and resource identifier and terms of availability.

What are the four types of catalog? ›

Any information represents in a record is called an entry. The types of physical form of a library catalogue are : book catalogues, card catalogues, microform catalogue and online catalogue.

What is weeding short answer? ›

The unwanted plants that grow in-between crops are called weeds. The process of removal of such unwanted plants is called weeding. Weeding is important in agriculture because weeds are competitive plants as they reduce the useful crop yield by acquiring space, fertilizers, and nutrients from the soil.

Which type of books should be weeded in library? ›

The material that should be weeded out periodically: Books of any type that are used by many readers and which has worn out. Books that are mutilated by the users. Books that are printed on inferior quality of paper which have deteriorated.

What are the materials for weeding? ›

6 Essential Tools For Weeding Your Garden
  • Large Black Tarps. Cultivation should really start before planting. ...
  • Collinear Hoe. Jesse Frost. ...
  • Stirrup Hoe. The stirrup hoe, much like the collinear hoe, can be used standing straight up. ...
  • Tine Weeding Rake. Jesse Frost. ...
  • Wheel Hoe. ...
  • Flame Weeder.
30 Mar 2017

How long can you hold a book at the library? ›

Circulating books are the most common -- these books may leave the library and be checked out for up to three (3) weeks. They may also be renewed twice for three (3) weeks each, as long as no one else is waiting for the book. This means that, in total, a book could be checked out for up to nine (9) weeks.

How long can you keep a book from the library? ›

You can keep most books for three weeks. In some libraries, there are Quick Read collections which can be borrowed for one week so that as many people as possible have a chance to borrow them.

How long do libraries keep books on hold? ›

Find your book on the holds shelf using the last four digits of your library card and check it out as you normally would. (You have 7 days to pick the item up before it's returned to circulation.)

What makes a successful curator? ›

You need to be bold, charismatic, fearless and willing to take risks and make mistakes. Great curators will see around corners, embrace and expose unusual and unexpected themes and sources, and make bold predictions about their passions and beliefs.

What is an example of curate? ›

The definition of a curate is a member of the clergy that assists a vicar or parish priest. A man who goes out to parishoner's homes when they are ill and who does other tasks to assist his parish priest is an example of a curate.

How do you curate a little free library? ›

7 Tips For Creating A Little Free Library Your Whole Neighborhood Will Enjoy
  1. Make The Design Of Your Library Unique And Inviting. Giphy. ...
  2. Regularly Curate Your Collection. Giphy. ...
  3. Have An Eye For Diversity. ...
  4. Add A Personal Touch. ...
  5. Make Your LFL A Community Effort. ...
  6. Register Your LFL To Connect With Other Librarians. ...
  7. Be A Good Patron.
18 Sept 2017


1. Genre-fying Your Library
(Maggie Timmersman)
2. Non-Fiction Genrefication in a School Library
(Your Personal Librarian)
3. Genrefying a High School Library
(Christy Minton)
4. School Library Genrefication: The Hows and Whys
(Leigh Collazo)
5. Genrefication of Fiction
(Robert GEORGE)
6. To Genrefy or Not to Genrefy? That is the Question
(Yellowhead Regional Library)
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