Step One: A MASSIVE weed!

Our shelves were packed to bursting after years of non-weeding neglect. In the spring semester, I used my spare moments of time to patiently weed, and weed, and weed some more, knowing that I only wanted to genrefy books we truly wanted to keep.

Step Two: Design our genrefied library

I spent a great deal of time reading blog posts of other librarians that had gone through the process of genrefication, keeping the pieces of their plans that I knew we would want in our library. I also looked into resources provided by Follett School Solutions.

The impetus for our genrefication project was the way our young students searched for books. I frequently fielded questions like "Where are the princess books?", "Can I have a scary book?" and "I want a story about a cat. Can you help me?" I kept a record of these requests and used them to formulate many of our genre categories. I also borrowed heavily from Andy Plemmons' wonderful blogging on his process to genrefication (link below).

Once I had our list of genres, I made the decision to design our signage and labels myself. I researched good logo design and kept a folder of attractive designs I felt captured the right feel for our primary students, prioritizing clarity and readability. I used to create each one of our signs and labels.

PC Genres _ Descriptions

Step Three: Order Supplies

I had saved up a chunk of my budget for this project, knowing that we would need a great deal of labels, label protectors, and sign holders. It was tough to spend this amount of money on non-book items, but I held firm to the belief that this process would help our students and staff better use the wonderful collection of titles we already owned.

Demco Genrefication Supplies 1.pdf
Demco Genrefication Supplies 2.pdf

Step Four: Sort our collection into genres

I started sorting on the day all our library books were due in May. Nothing went back on the shelves, I sorted them straight into genres. This resulted in many, many piles all over the library and was only possible because we were not hosting classes the last few days of school.

Step Five: Host a Volunteer Event

The books now needed to be scanned into their new genres. I used the sublocation and copy category fields in Destiny to accomplish this. The sublocation shows up when patrons are searching the catalog and the copy category allows me to run reports that show which of our genres are being checked out the most, least, and in between. Labels with these same genres also needed to be applied to each book.

I put out a Google form to the whole district to see if anyone would be interested in helping with these tasks the two days after school had let out for summer. A fellow librarian, a central office staff member, and two other teachers took me up on the offer. I also teamed up with my high school teacher husband to get his Thespian troupe out to help. They needed volunteer hours and it was easy to pitch this task since it was an air-conditioned, low-key event. Another staff member asked if her daughter and a friend could pick up volunteer hours as well. My parents-in-law even came out to help!

The day of the event, I set up multiple laptops with scanners I had borrowed from other librarians. I gave a short tutorial on the process and we were off! I made sure there were snacks, water, and music available all day and spent my time floating to different groups, ensuring accuracy in the scanning and labeling and answering questions. We made such great progress the first day, I only needed two helpers to stay on and finish up the second.

Step Six: Reshelve the Collection

Much of the work the second day of our volunteer event was spent reshelving and shifting, then reshelving and shifting again to get the new arrangement just right. We also took this opportunity to pull out the new sign holders and get all our signage in place.

It was incredibly satisfying to sit back and look at our newly genrefied collection, but not nearly as satisfying as seeing the students' faces when they came in to the library for the first time in August!

I would also suggest looking at the great work of:

Andy Plemmons - Expect the Miraculous

Tiffany Whitehead - Mighty Little Librarian