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What Genres to choose when organising a 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

The Genres

How many you decide to use will depend on the size of your collection.

If you are using Destiny Discover, that's our digital library database accessible to students, staff and parents, then as a minimum use the very same names and icons. This will help with staff and student adoption as they are already familiar with them.

These are the minim genres I think you will need / all the genres I use. In addition to my own choices I consulted with the English Teachers and checked the International Baccalaureate (IB) requirements too.

Genres - Fiction

  • Adventure
  • Classic Novels
  • Drama
  • Dystopian
  • Graphic Novels
  • Historical
  • Horror
  • Love & Romance
  • Mystery
  • Realistic
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Sports
  • Translated Fiction (International Baccalaureate (IB) requirement: I'm in Japan so I am required to have classic native texts available in English. This does mean I have a fantastic collection of Haruki Murakami books!).
  • World (Council of International Schools (CIS) requirement. Support of mother languages)

In addition to the above, I have separated physically the collections for grades 6 to grades 8 from grades 9 to 12. Older students do not want to scan through an Enid Blyton section to find books of interest, and neither do I necessarily want younger students taking home young adult romance novels. As with all things ask your students what they think! I ran the idea past my library helpers and random students before I did this and the feedback was very positive.

My physical and digital genres are

  • Adventure
  • Adventure YA
  • Classic Novels
  • Dystopian
  • Dystopian YA
  • Graphic Novels
  • Graphic Novels YA
  • Historical
  • Historical YA

And so on.

These are additional fiction genres mentioned in the Curriculum Tag section in Folletts Titlewave if you really want to go to town / have a huge library / are a glutton for punishment. As a rule of them I would say that a genre should be at least a shelf or two on size. Any smaller than that then it maybe overlooked. That said, organising books by genres is a great way to see which areas of your collection should be developed. I only had four science fictions titles for young adults as an example. I really felt I had more.
  • Action & Adventure
  • American Literature
  • Animal Tales
  • Authentic Literature
  • Autobiography
  • Biographical Fiction
  • Biography
  • British Literature
  • Circular Story
  • Classic Literature
  • Classic Retellings
  • Cumulative Tales
  • Detective Story
  • Diary/Journal
  • Diary/Journal
  • Drama
  • Epic
  • Epistolary
  • Essay
  • Fable
  • Fairy Tales
  • Fantasy
  • Folklore
  • Folktale
  • Free Verse Poem
  • Graphic Novel & Comics
  • Historical Document
  • Historical Fiction
  • Horror & Ghost Stories
  • Humor
  • Legend
  • Magic
  • Manga
  • Mash-Up
  • Memoir
  • Mystery
  • Myth
  • Narrative Nonfiction
  • Novels in Verse
  • Nursery Rhymes
  • Paranormal
  • Parody
  • Picture Book
  • Play/Theater
  • Poetry
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Satire
  • Short Stories
  • Sonnet
  • Speeches
  • Steampunk
  • Stories in Verse
  • Tall Tale
  • Thriller
  • Time Travel
  • Urban Fiction
  • Wordless
  • World Literature


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Author: I am a Teacher Librarian from the UK working in Japan. I create all the artwork and videos for the teaching materials within this website. New products and special offers will be announced here first. Everything I post is about products or services that I have tried in my own classes.
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