Is Genre Sorting For You?

This year I decided to genre sort our high school library’s fiction section. Many have asked if I am happy with the decision to do so, and I would say “YES!”

Here are some of the benefits of genre sorting…

  1. You now have a definitive answer when a student stops at the desk and asks, “Excuse me, but where are your mystery books?”
  2. Genre sorting has encouraged browsing. Sure, I can tell you where to find Harry Potter, but since you’ve read all the books and have seen all of the movies, maybe there is something in Harry’s section that you might also enjoy.
  3. Creating displays that feature themes, authors, or specific genres has been a breeze! In fact, our number of displays has increased, they are changed out more frequently, and they appeal to a broader audience.
  4. During the genre sorting process you are going to find some real gems in your collection that have been forgotten. You are also going to find a lot of duds you can say goodbye to. At the end of the process, you are going to have a renewed sense of what you own and can recommend.
  5. Genre sorting follows a student’s natural organizational instincts – to group items that are similar. Netflix and other on-demand viewing subscriptions sort by genre. Bookstores are organized by genre. A Dewey classification of the non-fiction section puts books of the same topic on the same shelf. Genre sorting just makes sense!

So if you are ready to dig into genre sorting, there are definitely some things to consider before you get started. Check out this blog post for some tips to take and pitfalls to avoid. Happy sorting!



Published by Kristen Mattson, Ed.D.

High school Library Media Specialist with a passion for instructional technology, curriculum, and problem based learning. Join my PLN @DrKMattson on Twitter.

6 thoughts on “Is Genre Sorting For You?

  1. Hi Kristen,

    Have you ever thought about genre sorting the non-fiction collection? We are toying with that idea but it’s an intimidating thought. Also curious, how many genres you are using for your fiction collection? We have 12 categories for our fiction collection, but I often feel that is not enough.



    1. The only genre we created for non-fiction was “Narrative Non-Fiction” and it contains memoirs and stories that must be read cover to cover, like a novel. I believe we have 10-11 categories. I think the more you create, the more difficulty you may have sorting your books into them. At least, I know I would!


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