Ditching Dewey: Signage

The signage helps to make the library so user friendly. Our students are able to come in and find books easily using the signage and tags on the books to find their books. I thought the best way to show the signage and perhaps answer some questions that people have had through this blog series would be through the use of a video tour:

These are the signs I’ve created for the fiction sections. The images were creating use an app called WordFoto. Then I added the text portion in Photoshop.


Click here for the fiction signs on Flickr…free to download & use!

I created my own stickers/nonfiction signs in Comic Life, using public domain graphics from OpenClipArt.org.


Click here for the nonfiction signs on Flickr…free to download & use!

Deciding to genrefy our library was definitely not about me. Seriously, it was a lot of work and it would have been MUCH easier for me to leave things as they were. Going through this process of completely changing the organization of our library was 100% about the students. My students feel like this is THEIR library. They can find what they’re looking for easily. They love being able to explore within a genre. They’re more likely to pick up a nonfiction book because it just makes sense where it’s located. But don’t take my word for it. This is the video of what the students say about genrefication (this video was created for the AASL Ditching Dewey presentation, so it doesn’t just include my students):

22 thoughts on “Ditching Dewey: Signage

  1. Thinking about starting to organize my library by genre. Where did you find the colored label covers and the plastic displays for your signage?

    1. Jennifer, I ordered both of these items from demco.com —
      at Demco, search for “Color-tinted Glossy Label Protectors” and “Clear Plastic Sign Holders.”

  2. I am loving reading all about your process. I’m actually letting my 3rd and 4th graders work in groups to decide if we should do this with our fiction books. I’m going to let them debate it and let me know what they think we should do. They are going to have to make presentations to convince me to change or leave it. What are you feelings on an elementary school doing this? Any “research” younger kids could find to help them?


  3. I have a few questions regarding your library setup…
    1. Do you label or put book series together? In their own separate section? Within the specific fiction genre?
    2. I have a K-12 library…this is amazing and realistic sounding to me for a JH/HS library. Do you have a suggestion for elementary AR books? picture books/chapter books

    1. 1. I put number stickers at the top of series books to show that they are part of a series. They are shelved within the genre section that the series falls under.
      2. Are your elementary picture books and chapter books together or separate? I could see doing it either way. You will have some different genre sections for elementary, but it could definitely be done! I know that Shannon Miller has experience with genrefying elementary – http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/2012/08/we-spiced-up-shelvesand-ditched-dewey.html

      Hope this helps!

  4. Hi! Love your genre signs! I tried to download from flickr but it says there’s a problem with sharing…. 🙁

  5. These genre signs are great! But I need 2 more – horror and graphic novels. Anyone have those that could go with these?

  6. I need to mention that the signage for Religions is a symbol for Christianity. It is highly offensive to practicing members of Islam and Judaism, as well as other religions. If you are recommending your signage to others, please consider finding something more suitable for this subject. Thank you.

  7. HI! Love this so much! Thanks for the video! I was wondering what you did with your biography section? Thanks again!

  8. If signage is the biggest aid in the increase in circulation, why not just add signage to your Dewey Categories?

  9. I am genrefying at my High School library and I love your signage! I’ve managed to make some pretty rad images with wordfoto, so thanks for that recommendation. I am being a bit stymied when it comes to photoshop. Would you be willing to share the steps of how you created the signage in photoshop with me? I’d be very grateful.

  10. Hi,
    I will be a first year HS librarian starting this Fall. I love the idea of genrefying the library. For the purpose of inventory, is it better to leave the Dewey number but place a colored label that corresponds with the genre? Place the genre’s in one spot if course.

    1. Yes, I left the call numbers and used the colored labels over the top. Saved time and makes it easy to see when something is out of place!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your work on genre. I’m creating my own signage using wordphoto, but i may borrow a few of yours because they are so excellent.

  12. I am using all these signs and love them! I am needing to split my fantasy and science fiction genres. Anyone have a sign for these genres individuality? Also needing Graphic novel sign.

  13. Thanks for sharing these amazing resources! They will be super helpful in making my own signs for my library one day!

  14. I downloaded your signs and they are perfect for my middle school media center. I have had my fiction section set up by Genre for the past 5 years. The students love it as do the teachers because it allows the students to get back to class in a timely fashion. I need one more sign ! Animals. I have our computer teacher working on it.

  15. Hi There,
    I so appreciate the signage you’ve offered everyone! I’ve been working on nonfiction labels in my elementary school library and it’s been great watching how positively the students respond to them. I’ve been learning about organizing books by genre and it might just be something I jump into. Thanks again,
    Teacher Librarian

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