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  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

Original Post: July 26, 2019

A Million Reasons Why...

Actually, not a million. That would dramatic!

​Lady D and I have contemplated the idea of genre-fying the intermediate fiction section for over a year and we finally decided the bite the bullet and do it.

Two high schools in our district made the change and are still riding high on the increased circulation of books, Not to mention the empowered students who are able to navigate the shelves with greater ease and success.

Potter’s (2016) survey of elementary students and the recent change to Bookstore Model of genrefication of the library resulted in 84% of students responding positively to the change (p. 52). Book selection was faster and more successful with books shelved in genres (Potter, 2016, p. 53). I, myself, find it much easier to browse the shelves in Indigo/Coles when I can beeline right towards the genres I know I enjoy.


Tip #1: It's All in the Timing

We chose to start this endeavour at the end of June when most of the books were being returned before summer vacation. Secondary teacher-librarians swear by exam times or before winter holidays when students are busy with festivities.

Tip #2: Genres

As Sutton (2006) states, "You know your galaxy best!" (p. 561). This is especially true when deciding on the genres for your students. We have taken some licences with the term "genre" because Blacklock Library has a large population of humor and animal lovers. Our finalized list of genres includes:



Historical Fiction





Realistic Fiction

Scary (aka. Horror)

Science Fiction


Horning's (2010) From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books, and Vardell's (2019) Children's Literature in Action: A Librarian's Guide, are excellent handbooks for genre descriptions.

Stay Tuned for Part 2...

Horning, K. T. (2010). From cover to cover: Evaluating and reviewing children’s books. [HarperCollins e-Books version]. Retrieved from

​Potter, J. M. (2016). The effects of genrefication of fiction on the book selection process in elementary schools (Masters Starred Paper). Retrieved from

Sutton, R. (2006). Stars. The Horn Book Magazine, 82(5), 557- 561. Retrieved from

Vardell, S. M. (2019). Children's literature in action: A librarian's guide, 3rd edition. [Libraries Unlimited e-Books version]. Retrieved from

  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

Originally Posted: April 8, 2019

So, I turned 40 last week.


Wow. How did that happen?

In an attempt to avoid a full blown mid-life crisis, I turned my attention to my library. For who better to focus on than my kids?

This is how "Help Read Mrs. Huang Over the Hill" was born!

Shamelessly Promoting Reading...

​I pulled 39 of my favourite picture books from the shelves and put them in clear bins outside the library doors. I constructed a modest-sized hill out of cardboard and a green plastic table cloth.

The following sign stood beside the hall:

Each book that was read was placed on the hill creating quite a large stack of books by the end of the week. It was a slow start at first, trying to convince the teachers to read the books among the million things they are expected to do in a day. Along with a few keen teachers, it ended up being the students who led the charge. They snuck in at recess, selected books, and brought them to their teachers to read.

The results were more than I could hope for:

  • A class created a STEAM/ADST project after reading Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds. They built protective fences out of ordinary classroom materials and made it into a video for me to watch.

  • An intermediate class was so emotionally moved by Nightsong by Ari Berk that they bought their own copy to have in the classroom.

  • I found a small group of visiting middle schoolers reading to each other on the bench outside the library so that they too could place a book on my hill. (I had taught them 3 years ago.)

And so much more...

On Friday morning, I read the final "40th book" aloud to the entire school in a mini assembly, Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis. I purposefully selected a book from my private collection that was new to everyone including the staff.

With a caterpillar puppet on my hand and with Lady D (my library technician) ready to flip the pages under the document camera, I introduced the book as a sweet love story.

Now, I don't want to ruin the story for those of you who haven't read it.

However, it was spectacular when the entire audience of 300+ students and staff GASPED and went silent at the sideways turn of events. The silence was broken by the laughter of the Kindergarteners who found the humour too much to hold in.

It was magical.

I love my job!

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