Category Archives: Genre-fying Fiction

Humor-Teens Want Funny Books

HumorPDF of all titles in my Humor collection

Several years ago, students, often reluctant readers would request funny books. The requests didn’t come all at once, so every time a student asked me, I’d need to remember them and the non-fiction titles that were shelved all over the library.  It was the first time, I decided Dewey didn’t know it all. Between 0 and 100 was basicly a Dewey wasteland with very few titles, so I made up an unused number (080) and started moving all the funny non-fiction books here.

Some titles include: The Guinea Pig Diaries, Bossypants, Stephen Colbert’s I Am America and So are You, Dave Barry’s books and more. It made it so easy to pull these titles for booktalks and to direct students when they asked for a funny book.

Now that I’m in the middle of genrey-fying fiction, it provided me with another opportunity- to shelve the fiction and non-fiction funny books together.

The bottom shelf of this short book case is the beginning of the non-fiction titles.


Close-up of bottom shelf.



Jennifer Lagarde (@librarygirl) in her Zombie Fighter ISTE 2014 keynote speech defined Dewey essentially as an inaccessible secret code that students need to crack in order to access books. In fact, the Dewey structure often gets in the way of students’ browsing and finding books that they might love. I definitely agree.  Access to information has changed and libraries and librarians need to evolve too.

The same humor sticker and shelving these together will make it easier for students interested in funny books to find them. I can’t wait to see how this collection circulates. Here’s hoping a #titletalk upcoming twitter chat will be on funny YA books! I have a feeling that these shelves will be looking pretty empty by early October.

You can follow me on Twitter @DianeMankowski

Genre-fying: Action (and Adventure)

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.16.54 AMNot surprisingly, I’ve made some adjustments to the genres/categories I first intended to use. Since the spine labels are so small, I selected the first word of any combined category to be on the small spine label.

Sadly, sports could not be it’s own category. There simply weren’t enough sports fiction titles to warrant it. So, instead I incorporated them into ACTION. Action now includes war, sports, adventure and thrillers.

I’m loving what the books like on our shelves and how the classics are incorporated. See photos below.

In the first photo, Robinson Crusoe is flanked on either side by Matt de la Pena’s books and Keren David’s When I Was Joe series.

In the second photo, All’s Quiet on the Western Front is on the same shelf as Andrew Smith’s Winger, Alan Sitomer’s The Hoopster, Robert Sharenow’s The Berlin Boxing Club, Jeanne Ryan’s Nerve and Dana Reinhart’s The Things a Brother Knows.




Genre-fying Fiction- Selecting Genres

I know the big question librarians have once they decide to genre-fy their collect is, which genres?

After some reading, research and discussion with colleagues…

The Genres

  • Action & Adventure (includes war)
  • Dystopia
  • Fantasy & Science Fiction
  • Historical
  • Humor
  • Love & Romance
  • Mystery
  • Realistic
  • Short Stories
  • Sports
  • World Lit
    (Possibly Supernatural & Horror)

The Research

I read Tiffany Whitehead’s post.

Even though Karen Hornberger of Palisades High School, PA, decided not to genre-fy, I loved what looked like custom spine labels in her post. My favorites were World Lit, Dystopia and Supernatural.Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 12.10.22 PM

I also watched the video Christy Minton created for a graduate class that documented her process.  Here were the genres she selected.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 10.53.47 AM

I also looked at a Google presentation that Karen Hornberger shared with me. It was created by three school librarians from Pennsylvania and was presented at their state library conference:

  • Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School
  • Amy Johnson, Northeast Bradford Junior/Senior H.S.
  • Stephanie Sweeney, Garnet Valley High School


Let the “flipping” begin

I titled my blog the Flipping Librarian because I am about to embark on two large “flipped” projects this summer.

1. I am flipping fiction, abandoning the Dewey Decimal System and reclassifying, relabeling and reorganizing each of our 5,100 fiction titles. This new organizational system will allow students to browse for books more easily and my goal is to complete it before the start of the next school year.

2. In preparing for our district’s deployment of iPads for every freshmen, I hope to begin “flipping” research projects, creating screencasts of focused library related research lessons.

It’s May, the school year is winding down, books are being returned. The bookcases to expand fiction into genre’s are ordered, as well as the book processing supplies.  I’m beginning this project with the Fantasy & Science Fiction Genre. Dystopias, however, will have their own section.









Spine label designed by Steph Wallace @librarianerd