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Re: Organizing a small library



>On Thu, 11 Sep 1997 12:12:52 -0700, David Glover wrote:

>>I have been casually collecting books on and about
>>typography/typesetting/typefounding for a long time (about 30 years).
>>This summer I carefully entered the titles into a database and did a
>>sort by author and diligently shelved my type books by author (I have
>>about 2,000 typographic titles). Well...it doesn't function too well. I
>>can't seem to find what I am looking for ....
>> Any suggestions about organizing small collections like mine.

>I once heard Terry Belanger (now at U. Virginia) give a very amusing
>talk about the organization of a personal library. He may have published
>it somewhere. Included were such principles as shelving by size and other
>physical attributes of the books.
>Wayne Batcheler, NY


I did indeed publish this piece, as _Lunacy and the Arrangement of Books_,
with Oak Knoll Books
(<http://www.abaa-booknet.com/catalogs/oakkncat/740-07.html>). It's still
in print.

I have been mixed up, in one way or another, with the arrangement of
several smallish libraries dealing with the history of books and printing.
The present Book Arts Press arrangement works pretty well, I think. We
divided all bibliographical knowledge into eight parts

        General
        Manuscripts
        Paper
        Type
        History
        Illustration
        Binding
        Collecting

The collection is divided into two parts, the main Reference Collection
(known as _Refcoll_ in these parts), consisting of basic books on their
subjects, housed in the BAP Classroom; and Refcoll Reserve, consisting of
other books we have on these subjects, housed in the BAP Studio. Both the
Refcoll and Refcoll Reserve collections are divided into the eight sections
as listed above.

One advantage of this system is that each of the eight sections begins with
a different letter of the alphabet (coming up with History was the solution
to the problem of Printing or Publishing History, P already having been
coopted by Paper). Within each section, we shelve by size, and in no other
order. The largest section is about three shelves' worth of books, not too
many to hunt-and-peck when you're looking for something. This freewheeling
system has the enormous advantage that it's very easy to put a book back
into the place where it belongs. Each book has a little label with G or M
or P or T or H or I or B or C on it (or G-R or M-R or P-R... &c.). During
Rare Book School each summer both Refcoll and Refcoll Reserve are heavily
used, with half a dozen persons at any given time likely to be pulling and
putting away books in these collections.

So far, it's worked very well.
-tb

Terry Belanger  :  University Professor  :   University of Virginia
Book Arts Press : 114 Alderman Library : Charlottesville, VA  22903
Tel: 804/924-8851   FAX: 804/924-8824  email: belanger@xxxxxxxxxxxx
            URL: http://poe.acc.virginia.edu/~oldbooks/


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