Indiana State University Library

Indiana State University Library Blog

Question: Why do you shelve your DVDs that way?

Posted by Heather on August 23, 2013


DVDs at the library

Recently, someone left us a comment:

Put your DVDs in a better order. Example: Horror, Action, Cartoons, Romance, Mystery, etc.

Let me begin by explaining how the DVDs are currently shelved. We have six main sections. First, are the new arrivals – things we recently purchased. Next are the feature films in alphabetical order. If you walk around the corner, you’ll find a section for TV Series, Documentaries, Animation, and Foreign Films also in alphabetical order.

So, why don’t we shelve them by genre? Well, the explanation is simple – alphabetical order and really broad categories make things easier to find. That’s the bottom line.

While shelving things by genre (romcom, action, western, scifi, etc.) can be helpful when you are browsing, it’s rather a nightmare to put things back in the right place, and to find things when someone wants a specific title.

I personally used to work in a video store where we shelved things by genre. People complained about that! Also, it was really hard to find particular things on the shelf, not to mention re-shelving thing at the end of the day. Plus, some movies tend to defy boundaries. How would you classify Shaun of the Dead–comedy or horror? How about The Wolverine – action/adventure or fantasy/scifi? Hunger Games – Teen drama, action/adventure, sci/fi fantasty

That being said – as a browser who may only want to watch a certain type of movie, having things in order by genre would be very helpful.

For right now, we can suggest if you’re looking for movie suggestions about particular topics, you can try searching in the library catalog first.

Once you enter your search (be it title, topic, or actor), Make sure you limit your search just to the DVD browsing collection, and ISU Library.. Then browse away!

Do you have a question or comment about the library? Ask us!

Fill out the form below or write it on the slips at the comment box near the DVDs.










3 Responses to “Question: Why do you shelve your DVDs that way?”

  1. sbd1988 said

    As a library assistant at a small town public library, I understand the need for a specific organization method for materials, such as DVDs. At our library, we organize DVDs alphabetically in three sections:
    – G, PG, PG-13
    – R
    – Westerns

    Of course, we have a smaller collection of DVDs than your library does, but our method enables us to quickly find what a patron has asked for during reference interviews. In any case, the DVD section needs a method of organization. Thanks for sharing yours!

    • Heather said

      I can see a strong reason for separating the R movies from the others in the public library. I worked at a public library in California were we kept the G and PG rated children’s films in an entirely different area.

      And why Westerns? Are they that popular in your library that you have a dedicated section? 😀

      • sbd1988 said

        I’m not sure why our library director decided that the Westerns should have their own section. It may have been due to enough requests from patrons that she decided to give them a section of their own. 🙂

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