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Defining Genre

As human being, we categorize to make sense of AND to efficiently organize / locate the objects and ideas in our lives. Imagine if a library or a book store were simply an unlabeled pile of materials.

Traditionally, libraries have "labeled" materials using call numbers according to a commonly accepted classification system--often the Dewey Decimal System. As our world has and continues to progress, this classification system has become both cumbersome and (in the case of non-fiction) socially problematic. That's not surprising with a system that was developed over a century ago.

Genrefication allows libraries to re-introduce their collections in a way that is both familiar (consider big box bookstores) and useful. Genre-organized fiction = reader independence.  As individuals with our own interests and needs, we may prefer stories that fall into one particular genre or another.  A library organized by genre allows readers to browse more efficiently through those books.

WORTH NOTING:  Assigning genre can be somewhat subjective. 

  • Some books fall into multiple genre. 
  • Some books fall within sub-genre (and levels of sub-genre), categorized in a myriad of ways according to venue, audience patterns of reading, and even a particular librarian's understanding or taste.

Get to know our genre system at MG and you'll still be prepared to venture into the differing genre systems used in bookstores, and even in other libraries.

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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