The first time I ever heard the word “genrify” I was overwhelmed. I love simplicity. I merged paperbacks and hardbacks together because I didn’t like the idea of having too many sections in the library. So the idea of dividing my entire fiction section by genre seemed outrageous.
I listened to librarians say that they would never go back after genrifying their libraries. But I wondered, “Was it really worth the time and energy?” In the summer of 2014, I started contemplating the idea. I decided to do my own informal survey when school started that August. I counted the number of times a student said, “Where are your mystery books?” Or “where are your sports books?” In those two weeks, I realized that our students often chose books completely on genre. And genres are what allow students to begin to connect--it makes the overwhelming task of choosing a book a lot more doable.
Finally, in the fall of 2014, I did a formal survey. On it, I asked our student population, how do you choose a book? The overwhelming answer was by genre. It was enough to convince me that it was time to give this fad a try. In the spring of 2015, the sophomore class spent nearly a week with me genrifying our library as a class project. We took the entire fiction section in the 7-12 grade library off of the shelves. We split it by genre, reclassified everything in the catalog, and reshelved all of our books. It was a huge project, but at the end of the week we all left feeling fulfilled by it.
The response was and continues to be amazing. Kids feel comfortable searching because they know where to start. Most kids don’t stick to one genre, but it allows them to feel safe and comfortable in a particular area as they begin to search for a book.
The hardest part of getting a student to read is getting him or her in the “just right” book--the book that will keep him or her reading and keep him or her coming back. Genrifying puts the students one step closer to finding what they need to find to become readers. #readitglobal was created to build readers. By featuring a different genre every month, we hope that we are showcasing something for everyone throughout each season. Genrifying was a powerful tool for my library, and utilizing genres in reader’s advisory is an essential component to helping kids succeed as readers.