Fiction Set Up: Helpful or Not?


Victoria Billett

A row in the fiction section with a diversity of genres.

Victoria Billett, Staff Writer

When walking into the SCAHS library it is quickly noticeable how it is set up differently compared to other libraries in the school district, or even other districts’ libraries. While the non-fiction and biographies are organized by the typical standard, the fiction section is not. 

From kindergarten to 8th-grade, students are taught how to read and are shown what genres they might enjoy, causing those libraries to be genre-based excluding non-fiction and graphic novels. Now entering high school, the fiction section is no longer primarily organized by genre, but by author. 

Books are organized in alphabetical order by author with a color code for genres: sky blue for fantasy, purple for romance, yellow for science fiction, and more. While the setup is similar to libraries outside of school, it is still a noticeable change for students moving up from middle to high school.

Mark Morath is one of the librarians for State High’s library. “One of the reasons that we work to try to do it by the author’s last name is to help students from locking themselves in a single genre,” Morath said.

SCAHS librarian Catherine Furhman shared their input on the setup of the fiction section. “Simply because you are only going to be looking into the section [genre] you prefer. You are never going to really expand out or even happen to stumble upon another book that actually takes you outside of that particular genre, and so by keeping them by author, but telling you what genre they are, you are exposed to all the genres as you are browsing.”

Holding another perspective you have the students who walk into the library and browse, use it as a study hall, and learn how to do proper research. These students use the library daily, yet when you ask them for their opinion on it, they can be very diverse. 

Sophomore Ojal Bhattarai is not a fan of the current organization. “I really dislike the system, it makes it extremely hard to find a book when you’re just browsing for a specific genre… I usually like browsing for a book of a specific genre, and having the genres all mixed up makes it much hard to randomly pick out books of a certain genre,” Bhattarai said.

Whereas Audrey Yabiku, another sophomore, feels the opposite about the library. “I normally just read fiction books so I think it’s convenient how the fiction books are organized in a simple way – alphabetically,” Yabiku said.

The walls of State High prompt the controversy of whether the library is right for students in its current form.  While it may be helping students reach out of their comfort zone it could also be another confusing setup for them to memorize?