I’m a Sci-Fi reader. Take me seriously, please!
I read science fiction avidly. The majority of television that I watch (and I’m fairly selective) is at least somewhat sci-fi related, and many of the movies I see have a sci-fi or fantasy theme. Given all that, you’d think most of my friends would be sci-fi fans, too. They are not. In fact, they tend to tolerate this unfathomable aspect of me, barely, and move on to other topics of conversation.
Some of us genre readers were in a standoff with our local library recently. For some reason, the head librarian decided to inter-shelve the genre fiction during an expansion and remodel. All the books are processed at the main county library before coming to our branch, and the books are labeled with a symbol if they fit into a genre. Here are the categories in our part of the world:
Horror: a bloody axe; Mystery: a skull; Romance: a long-stemmed rose; Science Fiction: an “Atom”; Western: a cowboy boot.
Everything that doesn’t fit into one of those categories is labeled “literature” and shelved together. Therefore, Kafka could be shelved near Koontz. Just so you get the idea.
Anyway, this arrangement has always been fine with me. I do read a great deal of “literature”, but only two of the above specific genres, namely Mystery and Science Fiction.
When all the genres were filed together, it made it impossible to browse a category! I’m usually looking for at least one good sci-fi read when I visit the library, but this way I had to look at innumerable bloody axes and boots, to boot!
Can you imagine the number of emails, letters, and phone calls the library got after this fiasco? If you don’t read genre fiction, perhaps not. The librarian seemed a bit dazed by all the feedback. It appeared sensible to her that all the “real” literature readers were all together, and the “genre” people were in another, less worthy section. She may have been amazed at the number of articulate well written notes of protest she received. I, and my local library patrons are not alone in our desire. Read this for another perspective and good discussion.
Well, to shorten this already-too-long story: It took an entire year to get the genre books re-shelved back into their specific genres, even though some of us volunteered to come in during off-hours and help.
I guess the head librarian didn’t want a lot of hostile romance readers in her building all at once. 😀