A response to Dewey or Don’t We

November 15th, 2007 by Brian Leave a reply »

Today someone’s going to present on setting up their library in a bookstore style by genre. I think that it’s great to present on that because it’s very current.

Here’s my take (representing/speaking for only myself): Setting up by genre instead of Dewey pigeon-holes authors and encourages a reading rut for students.

Meg Cabot is a great example. Sure, she’s got the Princess Diaries, but what about the 1-800-WHERE-R-U? series. Or Avalon High? I have students that “read only fantasy”. They’re die hard (like me with Star Wars). What if I have them read Avalon High and they love it? (Very possible.) They might want to read more of Cabot’s stuff.

Would it shake the world if a fantasy die hard read a mystery?

But if I take them over to a different section of the library, I’m shaking their identity as a reader. I have a friend who reads only sci fi. I had him read Killer Angels because the awesome show Firefly was influenced by the book (woot, Joss Whedon). My friend read the book, could appreciate the tactics, but it wasn’t as good because it wasn’t sci fi.

Now, a positive for the genre model is Darren Shan. If that boy branched out into anything but horror, I would be shocked. He’s got his niche. (As if R.L. Stine would write a dating comedy.) But what about Stephenie Meyers’s Eclipse? Is it horror? But everyone tells me, “It’s not a vampire book!” (They’ve got fangs, they drink blood, they’re not Republican (I joke at my own political party)(if you keep reading after that, congrats to your open-mindedness!).

The bottom line, though, is whatever works to get students reading (and have them get ready for college libraries, or a library that’s not set-up the same, or…okay, so we have to balance a lot of needs).


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