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Books by and about African-Americans are now easier to find at the Richmond Public Library. 

Library Gets Sticker Happy

Until now, it was the mystery lovers who had it easy.

And that goes for sci-fi lovers and romance enthusiasts. It's hard not to miss the books with the bright pink skull sticker on them, an easy pluck from the stacks.

But now readers with a penchant for African-American authors can clap, quietly, at the new stickers that identify these books by genre. Just weeks ago staff at the Main Branch of the Richmond Public Library pressed bright yellow stickers reading "African Americans" on the bindings of books by or about black authors (the reason for the "s" was not known by a library staffer).

Already the stickers have been used in other branch locations. The labeling is nothing new. Book stores categorize books according to subject and genre, and African-American literature, library staffers say, is an increasingly popular one that with the help of the stickers can be spied at a glance. But hold your horses, that doesn't mean stickers will designate Scandinavian authors, too.

The Richmond Public Library and the Friends of the Library don't plan to go crazy with the labeling. They stick together on this latest effort in hopes of making the library more user-friendly. "We wanted to increase the ability for readers to locate the materials on their own," says City Librarian Robert Rieffel.

Next on deck for the color coding are books that appeal mostly to young adults. And soon, new books that the library calls "red hots" will be marked by a red flame sticker.

"It's like the book stores," says Rieffel. "We want libraries to be less of a
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