Patrons who enjoy reading fiction are benefitting from the culmination of a yearlong project at the McPherson Public Library to completely overhaul the fiction collection.
The collection previously consisted of general fiction, as well as the genres of Mystery, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Westerns. The library now has created five new genres – Historical Fiction, Inspirational, Military & Wartime, Romance, and Suspense & Adventure. The Westerns genre was expanded to include novels of the west and renamed as “The West”.
Each of the genres, both new and old, has its own unique icon label on the spine, and that matches signage at the beginning of each genre section and at the end of each book stack. Maps to the new fiction arrangement are scattered throughout the fiction stacks for easy reference.
From planning to the shifting of the last volume, the “genre project”, as it has come to be known, took one year. A task force of library staff first met to determine which new genres patrons would appreciate and what the characteristics of those genres should be. Then, in May of 2013, Library Director Steve Read began the process of going through the fiction collection, book by book, determining which books should remain in general fiction or the existing genres and which ones should go into the new genres.
“There were about 25,000 books in the fiction collection when I started,” Read said. “And I touched just about every one of them by the time we were finished.” He also weeded out over 2,000 books which were in bad condition or had not checked out in a very long time but were not classics.
The project involved most of the library staff. Coleta Steers and her Technical Services staff recataloged some 9,600 titles which were going into the new genres. And Jennie Hall and her Adult Services staff attacked the mammoth task of moving over 24,000 books in the fiction collection – most of them more than once – into the new configuration.
“We're hearing from patrons who like to read specific types of fiction that they are discovering new authors and titles they never knew were in the collection,” said Jennie Hall, “and simply because they are now easier to find."
Library staff are making a special effort to assist patrons in finding the new locations of favorite authors, as well as helping them explore the new fiction arrangement.