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Don’t panic! We’re reorganizing a little bit.

As librarians, we like to pigeon-hole things into nice neat little categories. Life, publishers and authors, irritatingly enough, do not always conform themselves to our requirements though. Thus when life, publishers or authors change, we have to change with them. To that end, we are reorganizing Fiction by eliminating the separate shelving by genre. As a first step, we are combining the two genre fiction sections, Science Fiction and Mystery. We’ll merge them into regular Fiction later. Don’t worry, we’ll still keep the handy little stickers.

Why, exactly, are we doing this?

  • More and more authors write in different genres instead of focusing on just one. Kazuo Ishiguro, for example, has written science fiction (Never Let Me Go), fantasy (The Buried Giant) and “mainstream” fiction (The Remains of the Day). By eliminating genre-based shelving, all his books will be in the same place.
  • Books are not confining themselves to a single genre. There are wizard detectives (The Dresden Files), Jane Austenish dramas, but with magic (The Glamourist Histories), more vampire romances than you can count and so on.
  • Shelf space is at a premium. Right now we have to discard an older, less used item to make room for each new purchase. By merging the collections we gain a little flexibility. For example, Science Fiction was “weeded” in the late winter. There are still some empty shelves which haven’t been filled with new science fiction or fantasy purchases. Once the collections are merged, that space can be used for books of all descriptions (so long as they are fiction).
  • If we moved some authors to their rightful place, there wouldn’t be room in the genre for anything else. For example, Diana Gabaldon writes huge doorstops that are technically fantasy titles as they involve magical time travel. If we moved all 14 of her books to Science Fiction… well, you can just imagine the chaos that would ensue.
  • We won’t have to explain that fantasy books are really shelved in Science Fiction any more.
  • Hopefully, a merged collection will encourage serendipitous discovery of new authors.