Like most public libraries, we divide our fiction books into several genres, so that people can easily find the sort of books they enjoy most, making the experience more like browsing in a bookshop. I have mixed feelings about this as I think it stops people trying different sorts of books but I’m coming round to the idea more and more as I can see customers like it and it definitely boosts our borrowing figures.
Crime is one of our most popular sections and a few months ago we created a sub-section for cosy crime. We weeded the crime books to create more space to display front-facing books and picked out the cosy books to shelve in their own bays. The whole crime section now looks much more attractive and it means that people who like the medieval mysteries of Peter Tremayne may now try those of Ariana Franklin or even be tempted by the modern Agatha Raisin books by MC Beaton. So, in a way it is encouraging wider reading.
I still hate that the general fiction books (i.e. the ones we haven’t slotted into genres) are so neglected but it’s partly our fault as we’ve put them at the back of the library and few people seem to get further than the crime, saga and romance shelves! I’d really like to get people borrowing these books but I’m not sure how best to do it. Should we rearrange the whole library? Mix the sagas in with the general fiction? Any suggestions?