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Genre Spotlight: The Fantasy Section

OVERALL STATS (includes genre sections only–no nonfiction, E, AV, or reference materials included in these stats):

  • number of books in section: 917
  • number of circulations past 90 days: 864
  • percentage of genre-fied holdings: 14.06%
  • percentage of genre-fied circulations past 90 days: 8.2%

GENRE LABEL COLOR: purple, the color of royalty!

MOST POPULAR TITLES (past 90 days):

  • The Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel series (Scott)
  • Ranger’s Apprentice series (Flanagan)
  • Fins series (Childs)
  • A Monster Calls (Ness)
  • The Emerald Atlas (Stephens)
  • Incarceron series (Fisher)
  • The Magnificent 12 series (Grant)
  • Artemis Fowl series (Colfer)
  • Harry Potter series (Rowling)
  • Girl of Fire and Thorns (Carson)
  • Gregor the Overlander series (Collins)
  • Warriors series (Hunter)
  • Inheritance series (Paolini)
  • Jack Blank Adventure series (Myklusch)

TRENDING:  epic fantasy (due to popularity of The Hobbit movie and Game of Thrones series on HBO), mermaids, fae

CRITERIA FOR SECTION: Fantasy books vary widely. At minimum, books in the Fantasy section must have at least one of the following:

  • magic or sorcery
  • medieval world (castles, royalty, knights)
  • swords or other medieval weaponry
  • mythical/magical creatures (dragons, trolls, unicorns, elves, fairies, etc.)
  • talking animals
  • set primarily in a world very different from ours

TROUBLESHOOTING: My library’s Fantasy section is the second-largest genre section in our library (Realistic fiction is slightly larger). Many Fantasy books are parts of series, and a huge number top 400 pages or more. The number of books is large, and the section itself spreads across ten of our shelves. If the point of genre-fying is to make it easier for students to find the books they want, then is this section too large?

I think it is. I am close to beginning the process of splitting the Fantasy section into smaller subsections. Two years, I created three smaller section from Fantasy–Paranormal, Fairytales, and Mythology, all very popular–so this would break it down further to help students more easily find what they want. The section location will stay the same, but books that are alike will get new genre color labels and be shelved together by color/genre. I am looking at creating the following sections:

–High Fantasy–includes all or most of the criteria in the above list. This section would include Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Scott’s The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, and Chima’s Seven Realms series. I will leave this section purple.

–Light Fantasy–includes books that have one or two of characteristics above, but are mostly realistic except for one or two minor things. This section would include books like Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting, Selfors’ The Sweetest Spell, Cashore’s Graceling, and Nielsen’s The False Prince. I prefer the term “Light Fantasy” to “Low Fantasy” because I do not want to imply that books in this section are easier or for lower readers. They aren’t.

–Animal Fantasy–includes books featuring talking animals as major characters. Books in this section would include Hunter’s Warriors series, Jacques’ Redwall series, and Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.

A possible fourth section:

–Mermaids/Witches/Fae–protagonists are mer people, witches, or fae. This group is giving me the most problems with where to classify them. They could become their own section or go into either Light Fantasy or Paranormal. Books in this section include Childs’ Forgive My Fins, Hawkins’ Hex Hall, and Kagawa’s The Iron King.

I think splitting the Fantasy section will encourage new readership, especially among my Paranormal, Fairytale Spinoff, and Mythology readers. I think including an Animal Fantasy section will introduce my die-hard Erin Hunter fans to explore other Animal Fantasy books, such as Jacques’ Redwall series, Adams’ Watership Down, or DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux.

When I get this Fantasy-splitting project underway, I will post some further discussion about it. At this point, it is still churning in my mind. I still have lots of details to work out. I already ordered 4 new genre label colors, so I can split into up to 5 sections (one would stay the current color, purple).

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