Our ‘Snowbird’ Community has a small Library. The volunteer librarians have developed a book filing system that theoretically allows them to house the largest number of books. The books are sorted by subject, then by size, then alphabetically by author’s name. This means that book cases with shorter paperback books have one more shelf than the taller hard cover book cases.
The problem with this system becomes apparent when the users want to find books by a particular author. Books by Stephen King, for example, can be found in 6 different locations – non-fiction, science fiction, fiction paperback, fiction hard cover, mystery paperback, and mystery hard cover. On any given day, the whim of the volunteer who shelves the book will determine where the book is. This means that two hard cover copies of a single book will invariably be shelved in two different places.
Now and then, whole shelves of books will simply disappear. I’m assuming there were multiple copies of some books, and they were donated to another little library. But in a system like this, it would be very time consuming to find duplicates. Suspiciously though, most of the books by my favourite British authors have disappeared…
This library really is an interesting example of how logic and good intentions can have unintended consequences.
Logic is a large drawer, containing some useful instruments, and many more that are superfluous. A wise man will look into it for two purposes, to avail himself of those instruments that are really useful, and to admire the ingenuity with which those that are not so, are assorted and arranged.
– Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon –
I can appreciate what can happen to good intentions. Last Christmas I was going to make a whole herd of Cork Rudolphs. Their little bodies and heads would be etched with the ‘alphabet soup‘ of the wine world. Each little ungulate would be a reminder of those special events when the wine flowed freely.
After many attempts, much oddly bent wire, and a bit of blood letting, a single reindeer was produced. Wine corks firmly resist any attempt to poke wires into them…
YOUR TURN: How do you organize your library? Do you alphabetize anything besides books?
This week, the WordPress Photo Challenge is Alphabet