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Zer Netmouse
January 24th, 2005
09:54 pm

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a quick poll
Poll #424355 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books in Libraries

In a library, should Science Fiction and Fantasy be shelved together or in two different sections?

Together: the same authors write both and the line between them can be fuzzy
19(73.1%)
Two sections: Fantasy and Science Fiction are different and appeal to different people
3(11.5%)
I don't care: I'll find them either way
4(15.4%)

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:jeffreyab
Date:January 24th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)

Do you mean in Bookstores or Libraries?

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In bookstores there is not enough SF to put in its own section, also one has to account for blurry novels between the two.
Also in bookstores what is usually split off is series books like Star Wars and Star Trek.

In libraries there is usually so little room for fiction that all fiction is interfiled with sometimes genre spine labels.
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From:netmouse
Date:February 7th, 2005 07:08 am (UTC)

Re: Do you mean in Bookstores or Libraries?

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I mean in libraries. Specifically I mean in the Ann Arbor Main library.
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From:jeffreyab
Date:February 7th, 2005 07:23 am (UTC)

Re: Do you mean in Bookstores or Libraries?

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Its usually not done in libraries because to file by genre is very space intensive, space which most libraries lack.

You sometimes see genre spine lables but this is not always complete or accurate.

I try to make up book marks of SF.

Maybe Stilyagi/Confusion could make up book mark sized flyers to leave at local libraries and book stores.
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From:netmouse
Date:February 7th, 2005 07:11 pm (UTC)

Re: Do you mean in Bookstores or Libraries?

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Its usually not done in libraries because to file by genre is very space intensive, space which most libraries lack.

which is part of why it's crazy that they do it at our library.

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From:jeffreyab
Date:February 7th, 2005 09:11 pm (UTC)

Re: Do you mean in Bookstores or Libraries?

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How cramped are they?

One of our branches did seperate out genres then gave it up when they ran out of room.
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From:stardustgirl
Date:January 24th, 2005 07:17 pm (UTC)
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I often find myself wishing that all fiction would just be lumped under "fiction" and alphabetically by author. Most of my favorite authors fit a lot of different categories. Poppy Z Brite's Liquor sometimes winds up in "horror" due to her previous works, but it's not a horror book. It's funny...bit of drama...tad bit of mystery...then of course there's the gay-interest, and foodie aspects. Just "fiction" would be nice.:-)
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From:kgkofmel
Date:January 24th, 2005 09:30 pm (UTC)
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Cannot answer the poll in the way it is posted.

As a librarian and a reader studies researcher, I have to say there is not one answer, but that whatever mechanism is used for large scale organization, a) it must be made explicit, b) alternate modes of access must be available for directed searching, and c) aids must be provided for browsing.

Personally, it does not really matter a bunch to me as long as I can easily find the appropriate section.
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From:pnh
Date:January 25th, 2005 05:19 am (UTC)
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Of course, in a bookstore--as opposed to a library--the answer "together, because the same readers read them." Which is true; the overlap is well over 80%.

(As I remarked this past weekend, the reason bookstore categories exist is simple and fundamental: it's because customers don't want to have to dig through a giant pyramid of books in the middle of the floor.)

I imagine libraries might be more interested in purely taxonomical questions, such as whether the same authors do or don't write fantasy and SF, or whether there's some kind of fundamental narrative difference between the two genres. For bookstores, none of that matters anywhere near as much as simple customer behavior. As an emergent property of the practice of actual readers, bookstore categories amount to a serious answer to a whole lot of critical wheelspinning.
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