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Collection Development and Maintenance: Genrefication


Genrefication is the process of organizing, classifying, and categorizing items into genres. This classification system can be easier for patrons that like to browse, and many bookstores use it for this reason.

As librarians adapt to their changing communities and patrons, so must their organization systems. Many school libraries started changing their collections away from the Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress systems in 2009. Since then, genrefication has only become more popular as these libraries report their circulation numbers increasing—especially their nonfiction titles.

Genrefication focuses heavily on grouping similar materials together. Some libraries may choose to keep their nonfiction and fiction titles separate while others use this reorganization as an opportunity to bring them together. The beauty of genrefication is that it allows the library to adapt its collection and cataloging to fit their individual needs.

Most libraries begin by deciding on which broad categories they will use to separate their collections into, and then sub-categories within those. Oftentimes, these are called neighborhoods. For example, the neighborhood called War may have several subjects in it called Historical Fiction, World War 1, World War 2, Modern Wars, etc. BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) and Metis (Library Classification for Children) are the 2 most common starting points for genre classifications.

Read on for success stories, cases against the shift towards genrefication, and more.

Mightly Little Librarian Ditching Dewey Series

Tiffany Whitehead's blog series about genrefying the school library where she worked.

A School Library Transformed Series

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Many of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.