To Genre-fy or not to Genre-fy, that is the question we posed to our Library Advisory Board (a group of students and faculty who vote on any large decisions taking place in the library).
At the beginning of the school year I conducted research on the pros and cons of genre-fying our fiction collection. I read articles and blogs (Mrs. Readerpants, Living in a Library World, Fountain Reflections, to name a few) and I spoke to other librarians. We have a large collection of books, for the size of our school, and a healthy budget to purchase books, but our circulation statistics are no where near where we feel they should be. From what I have read and heard, it seemed like genre-fying our fiction section could help increase our circulation stats and also help us find gaps in our collection. Luckily the Library Advisory Board agreed and we began the long process of genre-fying our fiction books.
We have many parent volunteers and I was able to devote four volunteers to our project. We determined that the easiest way for us to complete this project was to print out a shelf list of all our fiction books in the Upper School (high school, we would deal with the middle school later). We are using online resources such as: Goodreads, Shelfari, Wordcat, Library of Congress, Amazon and Titlewave, to help us determine the genre of each book. We never pull a physical book off the shelf unless we can not determine the genre from any of the online resources.
Determining which MARC tags to use:
Our library uses Follett Destiny. Before we began entering information into the catalog, I contacted Follett to be sure we were using the correct MARC tag. I also followed up with a few google searches to be sure I was not missing something with the cataloging part of the project. I determined that we should use the 655 tag. It was repeatable and searchable through Destiny. For the indicators we used 7 and a. At the advice of Follett, on the second line we used our school code with the 2 indicator. (Follett said out school code would be useful when creating reports).
We chose the following 10 genres:
Fantasy, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Adventure, Sports, Horror, Romance, and Realistic.
We also chose to add the following sub-genres: Mystery, Historical, Realistic, Romance, Paranormal, Supernatural, Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Bullying, Abuse, GLBTQ, Drugs, Tragedy, Short Stories, Thriller, Humor, Classics and Adult Fiction.
To catalog our sub-genres we also used the 655 tag and the 7 and a indicators. As you might notice several of our genres are also listed as sub-genres. To allow us to easily search the catalog for our books with, for example, Mystery as the main genre and not get books that had Mystery as the sub-genre, we chose to not add the school code in the second line of the 655 tag (as we did with the main genre). This way we could search Mystery and our school code and get only the books that had Mystery as the main genre. (If we just search for Mystery we would get all books that had Mystery as the main genre and/or the sub-genre).
Covering all our bases:
We chose to add the genre as the sub-location for each copy. This is easily done in Destiny by creating all ten genres as sub-locations. Sub-locations are options on some reports in Destiny and also shows up under Destiny Quest. After editing the MARC tag we would go under each copy of the title and change the sub-location. While under each copy we also added the genre to the front of the call number (Fantasy F GOC). By updating the call number we will be able to easily sort the books when we go to move them to their new locations. (It will also allow us to see any books we might have missed during the process).
To see how the project was completed read post two : Cataloging: Genre-fying Our Fiction Collection (Part 2)