Scary genres and info lit

Full moon and gray clouds at night

Some librarians are taking part in an All Hallow’s Read book swap.  When participants sign up, they list their favorite scary genre and/or scary elements.  If our giftee likes a genre less familiar to us, we learn a little about it.  After all, how can we recognize a genre we haven’t encountered before?  We can use a tool such as NoveList Plus to find readalikes for a given title.    NoveList describes what elements different books have in common.   Then we begin to see patterns among the choices.

Similarly how can we expect novice researchers to recognize academic journals, if they have had no prior exposure to them?  By working with academic, trade, and popular sources, novices can discover the recurring patterns within each type.

Of course genre is more than a recurring set of features: It it how those features help us communicate (Hammond & Derewianka, 2001).   Likewise the ACRL Framework mentions different methods of sharing information for different purposes (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2016, p. 15).  We librarians can acquaint students with the features– and purposes– of common academic genres (Burkholder, 2010).  Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone!


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Chicago, IL: Author.

Burkholder, J. M. (2010). Redefining sources as social acts: Genre theory in information literacy instruction. Library Philosophy and Practice, 2010, 1-11.  Retrieved from

Hammond, J., & Derewianka, B. (2001). Genre. In R. Carter, & D. Nunan (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from

Photo Credit: Ganapathy Kumar, from

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