Genrefy from Home!

Genre-fy from Home (9)

Hello everyone! Welcome to this strange world of teaching during quarantine. As you may know, if you have read other blog posts, I am a HUGE fan of genre-fication. Genre-fying my HS library has brought nothing but positive outcomes for our library. You can read more about my genre-fication journey in these two posts:

Now that most of us are working from home due to quarantine, I’ve seen several posts from librarians who are wondering if it is possible to begin (or continue) the genre-fication process even while unable to access the physical school and library.

In a word: YES!

You definitely CAN accomplish a significant amount of the genre-fication process from the comfort of your own home! If you have trusted assistant or volunteers, you can even have them do a portion of it!

Below you will find a step-by-step tutorial for how I recommend genre-fying from home. Please note the following:

  • My examples apply to those who use Follett Destiny for a LMS.
    • If you use a different LMS you can still probably do everything I suggest, it just might look different than my screen. Call your LMS vendor for help as needed.
  • My examples apply to those who are using genre labels to distinguish a book’s genre not those who plan to change the spine labels to distinguish a book’s genre.

Enjoy your genre-fication process!

Before You Start – Pick Your Genres!

Determine your genre categories first! Each school community may have different reading needs and preferences, so different genres from one school to the next is typical. I’ll share my genre categories in case you find them helpful though:

  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi (includes dystopia)
  • Mystery & Horror
  • Action & Adventure
  • Realistic – Identity, Culture, & Relationships
  • Realistic – Adversity & Overcoming
  • Historical & War Fiction
  • Graphic Novels
  • NF – Memoirs
  • NF – Biographies

Step #1 – Get Your Genre Assist Report

Call Follett to request a “genre assist report.” This is an excel spreadsheet they will send you. The spreadsheet will include every book in your collection, in order by call #. Info included in the report for each book including each book’s BISACs and Subject tags. The BISACs and Subject tag columns of the report are what is going to make your genre-fication process much, much easier and faster. 

Without the genre assist report, you would need to examine each book 1 by 1 to figure out its genre. With the genre assist report, you can simply scan each book’s BISACs and subject tags column to see if it gives you the info you need to assign the book a genre.  85% of the time, these columns will include all the info you need to make a quick genre choice.

You can also watch this video on youtube.

  1. First add a column to the far left for “genre.”
    1. Now just go through the list of books one at a time, adding your genre label to the “genre” column.
    2. ** It is very important that you use controlled labels & keep your labels consistent. If you title one as “scifi” don’t call the next one “sci-fi” or “science fiction.” Keep them consistent. This will be important in a later step!
  2. Second add a sheet for each genre.
    1. Go to bottom of screen and click the “plus sign” button to add a new sheet. Do this for each of your genres. Rename each new sheet for each genre.
  3. Thirdly start going through your list and adding a genre label for each book. 
    1. Use the BISACS & Subject columns to help you quickly and easily decide on which genre you want to assign to each book.
    2. Go through the list and assign a genre for every book.

Step #2 – Filter to Create Individual Genre Sheets

Next you need to use excel’s “filter” function to filter out each genre, one by one.  Start with your first genre and then repeat the process for each of them.

You can also view this video on youtube.

  1. Firstly highlight the “genre” column
  2. Click “data”
  3. Click “filter”
  1. Click the little grey arrow next to “genre”
  2. type the genre into the search bar
  3. click ok
  1. Now that the field has been filtered down to only show one genre, highlight and copy it.
  1. Paste it into the sheet at the bottom of the excel that corresponds to the genre you’ve filtered.
  2. Rinse and repeat these steps until you have filtered, copy, and pasted each genre into its own sheet within the spreadsheet.

Step #3 – Create Barcode Text Document of Each Genre

Next you need to create a text document for each of your genres. The text document must have only the list of barcodes for all books within each genre. You will do this step for each genre, one at a time.

You can also watch this video on youtube.

  1. Go into the first genre sheet that you created previously.
  2. Highlight the barcode column for the genre
  1. paste the barcode list into a text document and save it
  2. you can use any text editor that you want, though I prefer to to use the free web one called
  3. Save the text doc to your computer and title it the name of the genre
  4. Repeat this step for each genre until you have a text document of each genre’s barcode list.

Step #4A – Add Copy Categories

The next step is where you take the barcode text documents you saved in the previous step, and you upload them into destiny so you can add copy categories for each genre to your book’s cataloging.

Why add copy categories?

  • They allow you to browse by genre
  • They allow you to run reports by genre (because you can run circulation reports by copy categories)
  • Always good to add copy categories but ESPECIALLY if you are not changing your book’s spine labels when you genrefy.

You can also watch this video on youtube.

  1. First Create the Copy Categories
    1. Catalog – Library Search – Copy Categories
  1. Next add the copy categories to their corresponding genre barcode list
    1. Catalog – Update Copies – Batch Update

Step #4B – Add sublocations

The next step is where you use the new copy categories you just added to add a corresponding genre sublocation to your books.

Why add sublocation?

  • It tells patrons using the OPAC to search for books which genre/location the book can be found.
  • It is always helpful to add sublocations but ESPECIALLY if you are not changing your spine labels when you genrefy.

You can also watch this video on youtube.

  1. First Create Your Sublocations
    1. There’s supposed to be an easy way to do this but I can’t figure it out so I’m showing you the workaround I came up with.
    2. Open any book – click copies – click add copy – *you wont really add a new copy*

What do you do when you purchase new books?

After you have finished genre-fying don’t forget that every time you add books to your collection afterward will need to have their copy category and sublocations added! It is easy to do that in the copy field:


Congratulations! If you reached the end of this you have finished genre-fying your collection!  What an accomplishment! 

There’s only two things left to do once you can access the physical books.

  • First you (or a trusted assistant) will want to add any genre labels necessary to the books (or new spine labels if you are going that route).  The good news is that you already have the list (the excel spreadsheet where you added the genre column in the first step) so you can give that list to trusted assistants or volunteers who can knock this step out for you pretty quickly.
  • After that it is time to move the books to their new genre locations!


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