Genrefication…Ready, Set, WAIT! Where Do I Start?!

After learning about genrefication and the effects it can have on student ease and circulation numbers, I was on board. Our circulation numbers have declined slightly each year the last 2 years and I wanted to make a change. Another reason this project was so enticing is because when a student would state that they enjoyed a particular genre it required  a lot of thinking/research to locate a book of their liking; now we can take them to the section and help them browse that single area.

I looked into Tiffany Whitehead’s genrefication plan a little deeper and started to form a plan of my own. I did not want a whole lot of genres, because I didn’t want to over complicate the system for our students. I decided 9 color coded genres was perfect; Action Adventure-red, Science Fiction/Fantasy-Purple, Realistic Fiction-Blue, Historical Fiction-Grey, Romance- Pink, Inspirational-Yellow, Mystery/Suspense-Burgundy, Sports- Green, and Classics-White.

The color labels that I chose were “color tinted”. I chose this because the students will be able to see through the labels and will still be able to read the author or title. You can find the same stickers at this link. I also ordered white round labels that Our asssistant Mrs. Schaeffer printed numbers on to mark series numbers. The last type of sticker I chose to use were glossy labels to put over the color labels and series numbers, those can be found here. I used 1 1/2 x 3 1/4.

I was particularly excited about the Classics being in a section of their own because some of our literature teachers give their students a list of Classics and have them choose one to read. Now that they are all together and color coded, we are able to take them to the section and allow them to browse rather than us locating and pulling them from all over the library.


How do I start? This is crazy? Am I crazy? WHY???

Those are just a few of the thoughts I had when I was ready to begin. I had received my stickers, but do I just start grabbing books? I decided I needed a solid, organized plan before doing a single thing.

I began working with our Follett representative (Bless your soul, Molly O’Sullivan.). By using the ISBN numbers of our entire collection she was able to pull a list of every title along with a multiple genre listing. I double checked these genres using as I went and marked my list with what genre I thought fit best. After I had marked 4 or 5 pages at a time I would go color code the titles on those pages.

Before printing the list, I alphabetized by author which is the exact order in which our books were shelved. This allowed me to go right down the rows marking the books with the appropriate sticker. As I came across a book that could fit in a couple of categories I would make a stack and consult with some of our avid reader students.

This part of the process took some time and if it wasn’t for our library assistant Mrs. Schaeffer it would have taken me much much longer to complete.

As we finished labeling each bookshelf we went ahead and clustered the colors (only on that bookshelf) Ex.- Shelf 1-purple, Shelf 2- blue, Shelf 3- pink/green etc. By the time we were finished we simply needed to move each color to it’s designated sections. I would suggest moving smaller sections first (this will save you from running into having no space left on shelves and having to move large quantities of books to the floor/cart).

We did not change any call numbers. We left them FIC and the first 3 letters of author’s last name. This is the way they will stay which made this process much easier. We will however change the location of each book from “main library” to the genre name. We also put the color in parentheses within the location drop down menu. This will allow us to locate a book quickly if a student is asking for a specific one especially if that book could fall into more than one genre category.

We wanted to be sure the sections were clearly marked so that the students would not have to memorize the colors before using the new system. Although posting color keys is not a bad idea. We currently have the signage on order. I went with wooden letters with a base from I designed the signs to be in the same color as the section it will represent and in a font that matched the genre. Here are some pics of the finished product (Pre-signage).

This is a small area of our pink Romance section.
This is a picture of our entire Sci Fi/Fantasy (purple) section. The signage will be placed on top of the shelves.
A closer look at Sci Fi/ Fantasy.
A-GUE of our Classsics (white) section.

I sincerely hope this helps your process go a bit more smoothly!

Please feel free to email me at if you have any questions or would like further info!

Peace, Love, and Encouragement



One thought on “Genrefication…Ready, Set, WAIT! Where Do I Start?!

  1. Kaitlyn,
    You’re amazing! Love what you have done and seeing it in-person was even more incredible. Keep up the great work, you’re an inspiration to your students, colleagues, vendors (yes) and other librarians everywhere.
    Love working with you,


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