Organizing Fiction by Genre?

Karen Pippenger asks an interesting questions for us to consider:

Has anyone here organized their fiction by genres? Just wondering, and if you have, what categories did you use? Tell me about how you did it and how long it took, how did you mark the books, and did you change the cataloging record?

I have not done it, and not thinking about it right now, but in the future it might be a point to make the library more user friendly. So the more I know, the easier it will be.


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  • We did it last summer - adult books only  It has increased our traffic Did not change the catlog record because we were not sure if we were going to keep when had the idea but it is no big deal as most books we have genre in the subject llist anyway

    It took me about 2 weeks to get everything moved  (we have apx. 7000+ adult books)

    We have Inspiritional (Song od Deborah,France Rivers Linage of Jesus,)

    Amish included couple Mennite in here too

    Contemptorary these books take placefrom 1945 to present 

    Historical in our case this is any that take plce 1945 or before they are on the back wall as their readers don'ind going back 

    Mystery/Suspense Goddard.Mills, Threadgil, Singer, Whitlow These are on the bookcases just inside the door  

    SciFI, futuristic 9Left Behind, True lies of Rembrant Stoone, Placabo)


    Western some of these could go into Historical  it was judgement call on how 'western' the story is 

    We made it easy for the shelvers to figure out what goes where as the 1st shelf in each catagoryis labeled and color coded for example MYSTERY has a red background and all the books have a red line drawn through ISBNon back of book

    We used the colors red, yellow, brown, black, green, blue purple orange

    Everyone seems to like it and have had coments that it is much easier to run in before service and find what they are looking for because they just go to whatever type ofbook they want rather than having to scan all of them

    • I would like to see your shelves with the books. We are remodeling our church library next year and that would be a good time to change our fiction section.


      Gloria Sexton

  • We changed our fiction section to genres several years ago. Now they are divided by genre, and alphabetized in that genre by author.  We did re-do the labels, mainly for ease of re-shelving. Our readers loved it! Since they have so little time in the library, it helps to have them organized in the themes they are interested in. Our categories are: Amish, Bibilcal, Historical, Holidays, Inspiriational, Mystery/Suspense, Romance, Spriitual Warfare, and Women. We need to subdivide our Mystery/Suspense category again. I, for one, love a mystery, but can do without too much suspense!

    I don't remember how long it took, but it was several weeks. First we just seperated the books by genre and labeled the shelves. As time permitted, we reprinted labels and added a sub-subject line to our excel spreadsheet for each book. The hardest part was discerning which genre was right for some books. That's why we have a "inspirational" category.

    Hope this  helps.

  • I created spine labels for Amish, historical, biblical, mystery, etc. shelved the fiction books alphabetically by author and the spine labels make it easy to fine the genre they want. 

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