To Genre Label or Not to Genre Label...


That is the library patrons want their fiction choices to be categorized by genre? Carol Petrowski, a reference librarian at the Onalaska Public Library (a part of the LaCrosse County Library) asks readers their preferences and points out that although all fiction is shelved alphabetically by author, "Genre labeling is only an additional tool to help you identify the type of material you might want."

Of course, on the other hand, "it is not necessary, it is not infallible and it may cause consternation or outrage to patrons who disagree with the genre assigned." Egad.


I have found that having too many sections makes it impossible for patrons to find anything.

"Ah, I see. That's in the large-print mystery acid-free manga afro-cuban step-funk section. Not the large-print fiction ... "

When you throw bad signage, etc. the over-genre-ing of the collection creates a fair amount of trouble.

If it was up to me alone I'd have fiction alphabetical by author and that's it.

The problem is that patrons don't know what they want--or what they want would hopelessly screw up other people. Where I used to work, one patron wanted all short story collections grouped together. Another one thought that every single book which might be of interest to senior citizens should be shelved together.

Heck, my library already does two sections, admittedly:

Fiction (with some genre subsections)

If there's some idea that "senior citizens" have narrower interests...well, that's another kettle of nonsense.


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Boy, between this snarky little list and your dismissal of Scots elsewhere, you're having fun these days, aren't you? Just wait until the 70-year-old bagpipers take up their 6 a.m. vigil in front of your house...

Sure those little stickers are cheap, but why waste the money and time if half of the patrons are going to complain about them.

Screw them alpha by author and have a nice day. If you want to see if it large print open it up. I once had a patron tell me she could not read large print... WTF?

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