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IST 605: Genrefying School Libraries

To Dewey or not to Dewey, that is the question:Published research to assist school librarians with how to best organize their library collection.



What School Librarians Have to Say About Genrefication by Greg Arenz

Greg Arenz (2022) with Demco discussed the genrefication of school libraries with experienced librarians who have put this system of organization into practice in their libraries. If you have questions about the reasons to choose genrefication, the planning process, challenges you may encounter, whether or not you should genrefy fiction, nonfiction, or both, the benefits of genrifying the collection, and/or how to go about utilizing labels and signage, you'll want to read this article. 


Genrefication Best Practices

SLJ Scholarly Journal Article

Ditching Dewey? These Ideas can get you Started on Genrefication by April Witteveen

AASL Scholarly Journal Article

Genrefying the Children's Fiction Collection by Alyssa Sultanik

This article from the Research Journal of the American Association of School Librarians discusses research done to explain the benefits or disadvantages of genrefying the fiction section of elementary libraries. The following is the abstract of the article by Alyssa Sultanik (2020):

Genrefying a library’s fiction collection is a common practice in school libraries. However,
there is little research to explain the benefits or drawbacks of this practice. Using a within-
subjects/time-series action research design, this study was conducted to understand more about
the impact of genrefying the fiction collection in a single library. This study found that
elementary students could locate fiction books faster and to greater satisfaction with a genrefied
collection than in a collection in which fiction was arranged in a FIC label format, which is
typically seen in standard Dewey Decimal classification.

This article is limited to fictional genres of children's books and does not discuss pros and cons of genrefying nonfiction books.

SLJ Scholarly Journal Article

Pick a Genre! The Fine Art of Genrefying Collections by Emily Mroczek-Bayci

This article discusses the difficulty of genrefying, as many books fall into multiple categories. However, many authors actually prefer the organization of collections by genres, . Tips are given on how to overcome the obstacle of multi-genre titles. Additionally, the pros and cons of labeling books (with label stickers) is discussed. 

ALA Scholarly Journal Article

Genrefy Your Library: Improve Readers' Advisory and Data-Driven Decision Making by Stephanie Sweeney

As a high school librarian, Sweeney (2013) was struggling with not being able to make recommendations when students inquired about books in areas in which she had limited knowledge, leading her to start thinking about genrefying her collection. Sweeney discusses perks and benefits of genrefication, like familiarity of your collection, but I chose to include her article because she also discusses things that she did not anticipate happening, such as the number of authors who write in multiple genres and not knowing what to do (she tells you!). Sweeney also discusses unexpected outcomes, like how genrefying helped her in meeting curricular goals and allowed her to perform very specific data-driven collection development, something that could not be done prior to genrefying.