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Should I organise my school library by genre?

Organising your Libraries Fiction by genre - a complete guide from an IB school Teacher Librarian who successfully did so.

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7

Writing in progress


Why are books organized by the last three letters of the Authors family name?

(Currently looking for evidence)

My current thoughts from observing and listening to the students who visit my library…

“I would like to read books by authors who have names beginning with M” said no student ever.

Similarly, “I can ask the Librarian where the books are”, said no shy grade six student ever.

To Genrify, or not to Genrify, that is the question.

Or as I prefer to ask, if you are running a Student Centred library why would you not? This as opposed to a Librarian cCentred library.

Student centred learning. Constructivist / Inquiry Based vs Traditional

Student vs Librarian centred

Fiction filed alphabetically greatly helps but librarians put books away.

Comments from various Library Forums

While researching this project and for this blog post I read many Public Library Forums and Websites where a guest is asking the Library why they organise the Library the way they do.

Many explanations of how the Library Books are filed. I'm still struggling to find out why.

Library Thing

American Library Association

Resources that align with my belief that Fiction should be organised by Genre.

Schools Catalogue Information Service

Traditionally in school libraries fiction books are given a call number beginning with 'F' and followed by the first three letters of the author's surname. These books are then shelved separately to non-fiction and ordered alphabetically by the author's surname. This system allows students to quickly and easily find books by authors they know, but it can be difficult for students to source titles similar to those they already enjoy without prior knowledge or assistance. (Brendan Eichholzer, Project Administrator, Education Services Australia). Wonderfully put. I agree.

In the same article are these resources

  • Clark, C and Rumbold, K 2006, 'Reading for pleasure: A research overview'. National Literacy Trust, [online] Available at:

  • Risk Taker

    We encourage our students to be risk takers so this is your opportunity to lead by example. Start small, and very quickly I would expect you to see results that should show that this potentially immense task will be well worth the effort. Students will become very excited that their Librarians are working hard to make their library better for them and that there will be more* exciting books in genres that they so enjoy.

    *More books - without spending any money !

    Yes indeed, magically your library will suddenly be perceived as having more books as you will be be putting books of the same genre together. The student that has "read everything" will now find titles that they have not seen before.

    I recommend starting with your personal favourite genre as it will be faster for you to locate those books.


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