Did you ever check out a library book by writing your name on a slip inside the front cover? This is how it was done before libraries had scanners to read barcodes.
Here’s one from an Andrew Jackson biography that was checked out by a young Elvis Presley just after he moved to Memphis, Tennessee. It recently sold for $7,500 in an online auction, so if you have any former library books it might be worth checking inside for any big names!
Most book lovers in Australia would be aware of the closing of Borders Book stores and Angus and Robertson stores. I have read a number of articles in various newspapers and magazines about the current state of the bookselling and publishing industries, and the fear that the book industry is facing its worst threat yet, with online book sales and ebooks taking over.
One of the most balanced articles on this topic was in the Weekend Australian recently, discussing the reasons behind the book store closures, and the positive side of the rise of Australian online bookstores. I also really enjoyed a piece in Bookseller and Publisher (see page 15), with author Max Barry describing how ebooks help you find your next good read and how the paper book and ebook can co-exist. Philip Adams also had a point in a recent column, that we love the old ways as well as the new. What do you think? Will the internet and ebooks be the death of the book (and libraries)?
Just what do all those numbers on the spines of library books actually mean?
Are they just randomly assigned?
Is it a running number or do they indicate when the library purchased that item? Why are there letters at the end of the number? What does that mean?
How come some books only have letters and no number?
Well be confused no longer!!!
Over the series of Call Number Confusion posts, I will attempt to unravel the mystery that is the library collection and call numbers.
Where do the numbers come from?
Call numbers are not randomly assigned. They are created using something called the Dewey Decimal Classification System.
Developed by Melvil Dewey in 1876, the Dewey System organized all of the world’s knowledge into Ten basic classes, called Hundreds. Each of these Hundreds are then broken into ten more areas, the Tens, and those are broken down into ten more areas, the Units, then down to the decimal places.
What this means is that every part of the call number actually means something!The numbers that make up a book’s Call Number actually tell us something about the content of that book and ensures that similar material is shelved around it.
For example, the 900s deal with Geography and History and 94 is the number for Australia, therefore 994 would be the location for Australian History!
- Australian history books – 994.4
But what about those letters?
They are taken from the Author’s surname or the titles and are used as a way to distinguish one book from another that shares the same Dewey Number. After all, there are going to be a lot of books on gardening or computing.
The next post in this series will begin our in-depth look at the call numbers used here at the Tea Tree Gully Library, starting a the beginning of the collection: 001-099!
The Pix Grove blog has a post on ‘Incredible Libraries Around the World’. It features some wonderful photos from old and new libraries – and a couple of them are in Australia:
State Library - Victoria
Mitchell Library - New South Wales
This one wasn’t in the original blog post, but I think another library worth a mention is the magnificent Mortlock Library here in Adelaide:
State Library - South Australia
(photo from Lonely Planet)
Click on the images to see them enlarged.
I recently discovered a website called Unshelved, which is a library-themed comic by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes. It’s well worth a look for its light-hearted and humourous approach to library life.
Click the image to see full-size. For more comics see the website.
Found at Me, you, Ecru blog.
Posted in books
The Little Librarian website features “the first personal library kit made just for kids”.
Complete with library cards, bookmarks, a reading journal and even overdue notices, it is sure to delight all budding librarians out there. It’s available on the Amazon website.
Back in 1876, working in a lighthouse was one of the most isolated jobs you could have. You didn’t have access to opera houses, theatres or other luxuries from the big cities – and there were certainly no libraries.
This was the year that ‘portable libraries’ were first introduced. Brought out by lighthouse tender ships, these heavy wooden cases contained good quality books that were carefully selected for the families who would use them.
Most of the material was fiction but other classes of literature were included too, including technical books when requested.
From the Michigan Lighthouse Conservatory website. Click the link to see some examples of the titles that were included in these fascinating libraries.
Say Hello Rhyme
Last night we had a fabulous time when over 35 children and their families came to the library for a special Classic Tales Bedtime Storytime.
Everyone wore their pyjamas and brought their teddies to share lots of stories. We read some classic tales aswell as some modern family stories.
Along the way there was lots of dancing and singing too. Luckily, we all had enough energy left to make a magical star wand, which everyone took home.
- Sharing Stories
If you were here and shared the fun, let us know what you thought and if you have any ideas for the future.
Watch out for the next school holidays for more fun events at the library!