Friday, December 9, 2011

Fiction versus nonfiction dilemma


Here is a question and problem for all you librarians out there. My state books are now listed in three libraries, two in South Carolina (Anderson County and Pickens County) and one in Georgia (Live Oaks Library system in Savannah).



When I publish my books and I have to categorize them, I choose Juvenile fiction/mysteries and detective stories. The characters are fictional, the storyline of them playing the game is fictional but the clues given by the game are factual (the facts and trivia leading to the characters guessing the state).



I checked the library listings and all three are saying the books are nonfiction. Savannah Library has my books in the 910 section; Pickens has my book in the 917 section and Anderson Library has me in the J 793 section.



So now my dilemma comes as to who is correct in classifying the books. Are they really nonfiction because they contain facts about the states or are the fiction because the storyline is fictional? Which section do they really belong in? 790s, 910 or 913? Is categorizing per each individual library system or is there a rhyme and reason for the way the books get shelved?



I know there is a term for the type of books my state stories are and that is "faction" (a book that is part fiction and part fact) but there isn't a category in the publishing industry for these types of books nor is there is a library shelf dedicated to faction books that I'm aware of. So where does the Junior Geography Detective Squad fit in?



I'd appreciate all my librarian and teacher friends out there to leave a comment on this subject, so for the week ending next Saturday, December 17, I will have a drawing for a copy of one of the six states completed and published to all who leave a comment. For every 25 persons commenting, a drawing will be done for a copy of one of the books. That means that if 50 of you comment, I'll do two drawings; 75 comments three drawings, et cetera. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic. - Ma America & the JGDS :)

11 comments:

Nancy Famolari said...

bodemI'm neither a teacher or librarian anymore. However, my take is that your books are fiction whether they have accurate facts or not. You have a fictional story line. I don't know if this helps, but that's my two cents. By the way, I love your covers!!

elysabeth said...

So any idea how to tell the librarians that the books are fiction and should be classified as such? I have six and four are published by me with the other two (Quarries and Reservations to be republished next year and the following year) published by a publisher and I don't know why the librarians would take it upon themselves to call them nonfiction stories just because they are about the states when it is explained on the back cover that it is kids playing a game trying to guess the state. I'm supposed to be doing a workshop at the SC Association of School Librarians in March and I don't need them trying to find the books in the wrong place. I'm definitely in a conundrum here - thanks for stopping by and I agree - I like my covers too - lol. Heather does a great job. The 2nd and 3rd ones are with a publisher right now and were done by the publisher's illustrator. E :)

Annie said...

I totally agree with you and Nancy that the books are fiction. Perhaps you could draw a comparison with historical fiction where main events have actually occurred, the places and even some of the characters are "real."

elysabeth said...

Thanks, Annie. Maybe that is the tactic I need to use - call them historical fiction. I just think it odd that the description on the back of the books clearly leads one to see that the storyline is fiction using the state facts as the clues, having my charactes guess the state based on the facts. So I guess the next question is how to get the libraries who have my books in them to switch their catalog from nonfiction to fiction. I will have to work on this somehow. I know that the Anderson County Library won't list the books I've published as being published by me because of the way the books are listed in the copies they have, which we have changed that. I've got to work on that aspect too - can't have books showing as being published by a publisher when the publisher no longer has anything to do with them - lol. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope we get lots of folks discussing my dilemma. E :)

Karen Cioffi said...

I agree, the books should be categorized as fiction, since you have a fiction element to them.

Not sure if historical fiction is the way to go, they're not really historical. You do have a dilemma on your hands.

Have you discussed this with your local librarian?

elysabeth said...

Thanks, Karen. I had contacted my county librarian who catalogued my books originally and told her about the problem of listing all my books as being published by the publisher when in fact they were not all published by a publisher but I had just noticed on one the other library listing that the one book they have was listed as nonfiction and so sent her an email but then retracted it after I decided to check the other two libraries. That's when I found they all listed my books as nonfiction. I will probably send them all an email informing them of the correction that needs to be made. Thanks for stopping by - E :)

Carol Baldwin said...

sounds like everyone is agreeing that these are fiction! Hope you convince the librarians.

elysabeth said...

Thanks, Carol. I figured if I put it out that maybe someone would see that perhaps I've been miscategorizing my books but seems I'm calling them as they should be - thanks for stopping by - E :)

*s* said...

Elysabeth, I would put this series in the same category as the Magic Tree House books...built aroiund actual events/facts, but with a fictional storyline. That being said, I've searched the Seattle Public Library online catalog and those of several Washington county library systems, and the Tree House books come up as juvenile fiction.

elysabeth said...

Thanks, Sue - I didn't think all my work could be for not - but I really wanted to make sure. I will work on contacted all the libraries and letting them know. Thanks for stopping by and commenting - E :)

elysabeth said...

I've received a reply from the librarian in our county library who does the cataloguing of books and it was very informative. If she gives me permissionn to post some of it (the pertinent info to this question) here, I will do so. It really did explain a lot. Hoping to be able to share her answer with ya'll and don't worry, you all are still in the running for the drawing - E :)

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