Tag Archives: library

Genre-fying the Library! (3)


If you haven’t checked out part 1 and part 2 of my “Library Genrefication Project,” click the links so you can catch up on my big project!

So as we cleared the shelves, we sorted the book onto a long cabinet that had the different genres listed along the front.

The area on the other side of the cabinet is the reference/professional book/picture book area (and ISC/ISS area.) You can see the shelves that we’ve started clearing on the back wall. This was second period, so they were finishing up the 2nd column of shelves.

Below are realistic fiction books written by authors whose last names start with A or B:

I’m hoping that the next step in the library makeover is updating the posters that we have displayed! These READ posters are literally from the 90s. Bill Cosby has no gray hair. Dakota Fanning is still like 8. We need new stuff! Here’s another example:

This is the view if you’re looking out of the library, looking over the long cabinet that serves as our 4th wall. The top of the cabinet has magazines while the bottom shelves house the biography/autobiography/memior books. Has anyone separated this section? I’ve toyed with separating political/historical figures from pop-culture/celebrity…just not sure if it would be worth it. Students might ignore the political/historical and miss out on some good reads.

We thought about ordering genre signs, but it seems that all of the merchandise available for purchase are geared more toward elementary libraries. We just needed something simple that told what genre was in that area, so I made these simple genre signs in just a couple of hours:

First, we cut quite a few file folders into quarters. We cut it in half along the crease that’s already there, then folded and cut in half again. There’s a little bit of excess that you might have to cut off to make a better rectangle.

I used Microsoft Word and typed the genre vertically (using WordArt), then a short description of that genre in a text box beneath the genre. I copy/pasted this so that it was side-by-side like the SPORTS genre listed above. That filled 1/2 of a page in Word. Then I repeated this with another genre, so on each printed page there were 2 genres.

Using the picture above as reference, ADVENTURE and SPORTS were printed on 1 page, then my librarian cut the page in half, separating the genres. Next, fold the paper in half, so you can see the genre from the front and back, and slide a file folder into the fold. If you were to flip the ADVENTURE sign over, it would say the same thing on the back.

Whew, is that clear as mud?! It sounds confusing reading it, but I swear it was SO super simple!! This is what the signs will look like once they are on the shelves:

Once the laminator at our school is fixed, each sign will be laminated then taped to the inside of the shelf. We have currently started re-shelving the books (yay! You’ll get that update soon!), and we’ve realized that we need more of these signs. Some of the genres start in one column of shelves and carries over to another. We want a sign at the beginning of the genre as well as at the top of each shelf. Also, some students suggested that  we put a sign on the front of the shelf, so I’ll be printing out a few of signs to tape to the front of the shelves. They’ll probably be a little bit smaller/different, so I’ll post a picture of those once they’re done.

Okay, next update I’ll tell you how we alphabetized the books before we re-shelved them and give updated pictures of what’s going on! I know you’re excited 😉


Genre-fying the Library! (2)


Our library genre-fication project is going so well! I promised updates and pictures, so enjoy!

The library doesn’t have a 4th wall…just 3. The back wall is open, and I am standing “outside” the library to take this picture. The cabinets in the foreground with the plant/book provide the 4th barrier to close in the library.

There are also a couple of shelves that highlight new books that are on this 4th “wall” to the left (if looking at the picture now). Since this is pretty much all of our fiction, this isn’t as monumental a task that it would be in the library at a larger school. I can’t even imagine how this would take place then!

Looking at the pictures above, books that have an author’s last name ending in “A” are on your left and “Z” is on your right. There is a long cabinet (like our 4th “wall”) that separates the main part of the library from the profession/reference book section (that also serves as our In School Suspension area). I put stickie notes along the front of that cabinet that had our different genres on them.

My first period class was the group to start the genre-fying. I explained that they would be working in pairs to determine what genre their books would fall under, then place their books on the cabinet in the correct area. They started with 10 books for each pair to analyze, and they were to come back for more until that column of shelves was cleared. This took place during each class period. It was too difficult to check each groups’ work before they put it in the genre they thought it fit, so I decided that we would separate everything, then I would double check decisions as we alphabetized them later.

Here are some of the groups working to determine the genre of their books. The purple papers you see on the table are their genre papers that we filled out during the first weeks of school. The papers list the “main” fiction genres then the genre’s definition, main characteristics, and examples.

You can see the cabinet where we’re organizing the books into the genres behind these guys. They were having a great discussion about whether a book should be realistic or historical fiction, but were completely distracted when I pulled out my phone to take their picture. This is them “staging” their discussion…gotta love 9th graders! 🙂

Right now I’m in the process of double checking the students work. For the most part, the students did a great job! There were definitely some books that were in the wrong genre, but this definitely got done faster with the students helping than without. And I can tell that they’re proud of their participation and ownership in the project. My 9th graders will always be able to look at that library and know that their hands shaped the way it is organized!

Genre-fying the Library! (1)


Today, the librarian at my school and I are going to embark on a huge journey to genre-fy the fiction section of our library. I am so excited I can barely stand it!

Students are forever asking, “Where are the love/scary/real/etc. books?” I followed the lead of many fellow teachers and tweeters and genre-fied my classroom library using backets.

I feel that having the books organized this way has done wonders for my students. They immediately know exactly where the “scary” books or “real life” books are located. They know that if they read a book from a basket, there are others that are similar just waiting to be read.

While talking with librarians through twitter, someone brought up that they were scared organizing like this would cause students to get stuck on a certain type of book. I believe that yes, they might get “stuck”…but don’t we all go through periods of being “stuck” on a certain genre? I’m a dystopian junkie; I want to read them all! But is there anything wrong with that? Even if a student gets “stuck,” we ask teachers and librarians are there to guide them to their next interest when they’re ready.

I’ve also found in my own personal classroom that students also have branched out into genres they wouldn’t have read before. Before I sorted into genres, I was trying to get a student to read a historical fiction book. My student fought me every step…”It’ll be boring. I don’t care about history. It sounds boring,” on and on. After I sorted, I found her sitting on the floor with one of the historical fiction baskets in her lap. She picked out Fever 1793 and hasn’t looked back since! I asked her what made her change her mind, and she said that having them organized together gave to her a chance to really look at the books and truly realize that historical fiction didn’t mean a book with a “lame story about history that was really just boring facts” (her words lol), but rather an interesting story that was completely different than her own life.

So, as we go through the process of this journey, I will keep you updated with commentary and pictures of our progress. I have to give Sherry G. (LibraryFanatic on twitter) a special thanks for all of her encouragement and helpful suggestions on this topic!

Wish me luck!