Genre-fying/Topic-fying: Picture Book Section

When I first entered my elementary library classroom the picture book section looked like many that I think we have all seen. It was titled the easy section and all the books were organized by author A to Z. I had been in the public library for five years where our patrons are mostly adults and where our littlest patrons are usually helped by their adult and this made it where the authors being sorted A to Z made sense and worked. After going through my first few weeks though with my newest little patrons in my elementary library classroom I knew that I needed to make a change to make the library more accessible.

One of the hot topics in library world, public and school, is Genre-fying. When I thought of Genre-fying I thought of fiction of course but I wanted to change this to work with my everybody section. First thing by the way that I changed was calling the picture book section from easy to everybody to make it more comfortable and accessible to my oldest patrons, 4th graders, to still feel welcome in getting picture books.

I rethought how could I organize the everybody section to make it the most accessible to my youngest patrons. I came up with Topic-fying. I decided I would organize by topics that students related to. This was an in-depth project that I began over a whole summer. The first step was coming up with a rough draft list of topics I would want the books organized into. Second, pulling and touching every book and organizing them into piles based on topics such as Farm, Feelings, Ocean, etc. This was also a great time to weed out books that were damaged and/or outdated. For my library here is the list of topics that I decided on:

  • Adventures
  • Bears
  • Bugs
  • Birds
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Dinosaurs
  • Disney
  • Dr Seuss
  • Family
  • Famous People
  • Farm
  • Feelings
  • Friendship
  • Folktales
  • Food
  • Heroes
  • History
  • Holidays
  • Language
  • Large Animals
  • Learning
  • Library
  • Look & Find
  • Maker
  • Music
  • Nature
  • Pirates
  • Ocean
  • Reptiles
  • School
  • Seasons
  • Small Animals
  • Space
  • Sports
  • Star Wars
  • Things that Go
  • Wordless

I worked on Canva making signage shelf markers that would start each shelf with a different topic. These shelf markers would have identifiable pictures and the topic word. This helps with my early readers to be able to identify each topic shelf even if the word is unrecognizable to them.

Side Note: As a librarian one of my daily used tools is Canva Pro! I’m obsessed! If you want to check it out for free for thirty days click this affiliate link, it helps support my blog! Thank you:)

Then I made labels on Avery Projects to put onto each book to make reshelving a lot easier. Every book was labeled in the bottom right hand corner of cover, a clear sticker cover put over it, and organized onto their topic shelfs by author a to z.

Then I printed, cut, laminated, and cut the shelf marker signage that would identify each shelf.

*Shelf Markers have been updated since this picture*

This is a big time investment but SO worth it! My students are able to find books that fit their interests truly instead of just pulling out random books because the spine looks pretty. In my lessons if we read a book from the everybody section we go over where I found it and what might be in the story because of what shelf it came from.

Want to implement these shelf marker signage into your children’s section in the public library or your elementary library classroom?? Want to have it be done and ready for you to implement? Click below to see these shelf marker signage all ready to go for you!

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