If I had my druthers, paperbacks would all be in one area and you would find John Steinbeck shelved next to Danielle Steel. The minute you break books off into separate categories you do a disservice to library patrons.
Why? Because you keep them in their safe little worlds. They will resist trying anything new.
Why? Because it has a "label" on it.
Gasp, I can't read that! It has a romance, mystery, science fiction, horror, whatever label on it!
Yes, I know. Give people what they want. If they want X type of books, why make it hard for them? I understand that. I really, really do. I just think it's short-sighted. I think back to my teenage years and all the fabulous authors I discovered just by browsing the library shelves. If these folks had been put into their own categories, I probably never would have found Marcia Muller, Sue Grafton, Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels....
The list goes on.
There's also the matter of mis-labeling. My library has labelled for years - which means it's so ingrained in our service population now that there is no turning back. Here are my two favorite mislabels that I've discovered so far:
- The Awakening by Kate Chopin marked with a "Horror" sticker. Now, I'm sure the men of earlier 20th century America did find Chopin's novel "horrifying" but that's besides the point.
- Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk labelled as science fiction. Um, no. In fact, Palahniuk's work tends to defy genres - so no label for him.
Yes, not labeling is certainly the way to go. Less headaches.