The idea was daunting at first, taking the entire fiction collection and segregate it into genres. But after reading reviews from other librarians, I was convinced. So, I decided to start with the Junior Library and segregated the fiction collection into 9 genres. So far, so good.
Once the stacks of books were retagged, and off to their newly allocated shelves, I waited to watch the students reaction, when they came in after the summer break. I’d like to point out here that if you do decide to “Ditch Dewey” at any point, do make sure that you do it before the new academic session starts. It is time-consuming, and I was blessed that I had our library technicians who re-entered each book with the updated information into the library management system. But the end result was fantastic.
I take pride when I say that my school is big on reading. In fact, we are proud of our Reading Culture, right from the Early Years, who have their own library set up in the midst of their classrooms to our senior students, whose book review presentations are celebrated as a mega event, where parents are also invited.
Within a few months, the students now talked about which genres they were reading, and their like/dislike for certain genres. The change seemed to add value to their book talk too. PYP students also have book reviews which students eagerly wait for. This is their time to have book talks with the school community.
Well, it’s been 7 years since I created genres for the Junior Library, and I am pleased with the result. When I “attacked” the Senior Library 5 years back, it came with a different challenge. How to set up the genres which would entice the seniors. Though as I said before, we are big on reading, however, there are of course a few who are not great readers, some who wouldn’t be caught with a book in hand, God forbid! An unforgettable memory is when I actually got stern gazes from some of my hardcore readers, who gave me that ‘look’ while seemingly waiting patiently for additional sets of Game of Thrones.
Anyway, it took me quite a while before I was able to finalize the genres. Maybe I did go overboard, but I ended up with 20. Last year I added one more – World Literature, and plan to add yet another, this year.
In the Senior Library, similar genres are clubbed together. eg, Detective & Crime, Mystery & Suspense etc. The fun part here was allocating some genres to books which I knew would never get picked up. Like, classics, Robinson Crusoe- That book would be in the Classic section, but I would also have copies put in Action & Adventure. Jane Eyre, another classic can be found in Romance & Relationships.
I’d like to mention that now, Harry Potter can also be placed in the classics! ( To encourage students to pick up non-fiction texts, I have added a few non-fiction books within certain genres) I realised the main idea with a genre-based library is that the readers don’t really care about who has written the book, it’s what the story is about that is important. Similar to when we watch movies.
We actually go for the genre first. Whether it’s an action or horror movie is what we really look for. The actors then fall into our favourite category. Like how we would read all books from our favourite authors. I still do have non-fiction books under the Dewey classification, this way I can get the best of both!
– Tahera Kinkhabwala – Fountainhead School