(Original Post: May 23, 2020)
Where has the time gone? I thought I would surely have more time to blog now that my Masters was completed. However, COVID-19 has kept me busy and preoccupied.
(Shout out to Marie-Josee for reminding me to finish this post!)
With every change in your library you will see both good and bad results.
Personally, the good has far outweighed the bad as we watched our school family enjoy the genre-fication of the library!
My circulation has increased by 42% within the first three months after completing the process (data obtained from my Destiny Follett catalogue system). These numbers are based on my Grade 2 – 5 classes of approximately 160 students.
I have noticed that I spend much less time showing students where
books are which affords me more time to book-talk new titles.
Students have indicated that they like the set up because it mimics bookstores like Coles or Indigo. They are more willing to try new authors and series because the books of the same genre are conveniently situated next to titles they have already enjoyed.
Genrefying has allowed me to put my graphic novels among regular novels.
I like this because students are more willing to move back and forth between graphics and novels if I book talk the genre enough.
I have also started to add my junior fiction novels into the mix which is slowly - ever so slowly – allowing struggling readers to have the courage to try more complex books. Genre-fication has also “de-vilified” what may have been considered “baby books” because junior novels were housed in a different location.
Some of the staff were cautiously optimistic at the beginning. They didn’t like change and were afraid that students would get stuck in genres. However, most intermediate teachers found that
a) students enjoy hanging out in their favourite sections,
b) book talk among peers is increasing, and
c) excitement over new titles in the genres is becoming a new trend.
Students are very much like adults as they hone in on one genre and exploit it for all of its wonderfulness before trying something new.
One class even fundraised and researched new titles specifically for the very pitiful “Sports” section.
And The Not-So-Good...
Some of my genres were seriously lacking books once everything was moved and re-shelved (e.g., Sports, Mythology, Science-fiction). We nearly broke the budget trying to increase the books in smaller genres.
There is the chance of pigeonholing a student into one genre. I have a few students that I can’t seem to convince to try something other than Scary/Horror or Humour.
There are many books that span more than one genre. This has led to many conversations with students who adamantly argue that I have chosen the
wrong genre. Usually, I save up and purchase a duplicate for the other genre (Hooray for used copies at thrift stores!). (Maybe this is more of a "good thing".)
There is a lack of aesthetically pleasing spine labels for some of our genres. This meant we had to design a few labels that were printed at our district print shop. Some labels we worked with other TLs and technicians in the district to create. This took more time than you would think.
I am a bit of a rogue teacher-librarian and I have begun allowing my intermediate students to checkout books during the pandemic school closure now that I have a strict book quarantine procedure in place.
Genre-fication has truly saved me during this time.
The first two classes were able to search the Destiny catalogue remotely based on genres. An online search of “Scary” listed every single scary/horror title available, which allowed students to select books they couldn’t see, touch, or flip through.
I’m not sure how students would have searched titles if they didn’t have a grasp of genres.