My library Was dukedom large enough.
William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, Act 1 scene 2
As I mentioned earlier, I am devoting April to reading several books about, well, books. One of them is actually a history of bookshelves, and it arrived over the weekend. The appendix of Henry Petroski’s The Book on the Bookshelf describes twenty-seven ways of arranging a personal library. They are:
- By author’s last name
- By title
- By subject
- By size
- By color
- By hardbacks and paperbacks
- By publisher
- By read/unread books
- By strict order of acquisition
- By order of publication
- According to the Dewey Decimal Classification System
- According to the Library of Congress Classification System
- By ISBN
- By price
- According to new/used
- By enjoyment
- By sentimental value
- By provenance
- By author’s first name
- By opening sentence
- By closing sentence
- By third sentence
- By antepenultimate sentence
- By reverse-order spelling of the last word in the index
- By number of words
- By number of entries in index
What? Really? “By antepenultimate sentence”? That’s just plain weird.
I tend to arrange by subject, then alphabetical by author within that subject. The subjects are not Dewey or LC, just subject groupings that are helpful to me.
You? Please, I’d like to know, especially if you use a different schema or one of the “more esoteric arrangments” listed above. Come on, leave a comment. You know you want to.
Three questions: How? How many? And for how long?