Some of you who have found yourselves in our adult fiction area this summer may have noticed me there as well, pulling books off the shelves, examining them, putting colored slips in some of them and placing them on my book cart. The reason that I am there — “out in the stacks” — is that we are working on the most monumental restructuring of our fiction collection in the history of the library.
We have a collection of general fiction, as well as three specific genre collections: Mystery, science fiction and fantasy, and western. By the time this project is completed, we will create five additional fiction genres: inspirational, romance, suspense and adventure, historical, and military and wartime. Each of our eight genres will be identified by a spine label and will be housed in a specific area of the fiction stacks — and with new signage. It’s going to be great!
We also are changing the western genre to “The West,” and it will include not only the traditional books about cowboys and bad guys but other fiction titles featuring pioneers, mountain men, railroaders and others who were part of the western frontier.
Both library staff and patrons are excited about the new genres and the future reorganization of the fiction collection. My part in this project currently is spending time in the stacks and deciding which of the books in our general fiction collection will go into which of the new genres. It’s a solitary task, and sometimes I feel like a cowboy riding the range on his horse and herding cattle. This group will go to the high pasture, a few select head need to be cut out and moved to the east valley, and so on.
As I work my way through the fiction collections I’m also weeding out books — or in cowboy lingo, “thinning the herd” — that are in poor condition or ones that have not checked out in a very long time and which aren’t considered to be classics.
While the 80 percent rule — which states that 80 percent of the checkouts for any given book will take place while it is still on the new book displays — is still valid, I was happy to see the number of older titles on the shelves, which have recently checked out. Though our fiction stacks can sometimes be confusing, patrons are regularly making the effort to authors both old and new.
When this project is completed, hopefully sometime in the fall, patrons will find browsing the stacks for the books they enjoy reading to be much easier. And I know with certainty that people will discover many authors who they didn’t even know existed. Those fiction stacks — known as a “range” in librarian lingo — will be humming with activity.
Page 2 of 2 - And now it’s time to once again unhitch my book cart and head west out to the range. Happy reading!