March 25, 2007

July, July

Friends Reading Group
Tuesday, April 10, 7:30-9 in the Community Center
July, July by Tim O'Brien

We have several paperback copies available for checkout.

2000: the class of '69 gets together for a 30-year reunion. (Yes, that doesn't add up.) Rekindled passions! Lost youth!
NPR interview with the author.
Tim O'Brien's own page.

Posted by library at 12:07 PM

March 18, 2007

Dewey Dancing

snake danceMost libraries over a certain size try to arrange their books in some predictable fashion. In the United States the two most common types of arrangement are the Library of Congress classification scheme and Dewey Decimal classification. Most academic libraries use the Library of Congress arrangement as it is best if you have a big library or lots of books on the same subjects. Most public libraries use the Dewey Decimal system. It works very well if you have a smaller collection with a lot of variety - and it is also easier for both library users and librarians to understand.

Does this mean books will have exactly to same Dewey numbers in a Montgomery County library or a PG library as they have here? No. They will usually have similar Dewey numbers, but the details may well vary. The Dewey system allows for considerable flexibility and each library tries to take into account the books they already have and where they sit on the shelves. We want to make it easy for you to find what you want by browsing - that is the whole point. Example: International Encyclopedia of Dance (6 vol.)
792.803 Takoma Park; Arlington; PG; DC; Falls Church
792.8 Montgomery County (probably the best number)
792.62 Ann Arundel

Melvil Dewey took all sorts of classification ideas in the air at the time, the 1870s, and came up with his structure. Based on the idea that the areas of knowledge can be categorized, Dewey settled on 10 major areas, each in turn divided into 10 subsections (the Dewey 100) and each of these divided into 10 sub-sub-sections (the Dewey 1,000). 000 to 999 = 1,000 numbers. Then you have a decimal point which can be followed a lot of other numbers which will give you additional information. All very elegant, all very Baconian. Full of secret codes.

This is the way this marvelous, numerically notated taxonomy works ...
5-- Natural Science and Mathmatics (10s level)
   59- Zoology (100s level)
      597.- Cold blooded vertebrates (1,000 level)
         597.9 Reptiles
            597.96 Snakes !
From our library:
597 we don't have any books here
   597.9 CARR The reptiles
      J 597.96 HOGNER Book of snakes

What are the letters? Just the first letters of the authors surname. If you have several books with the same Dewey number you sort them out alphabetically by author's name. Libraries differ in how they note this.

If a book has a Dewey number does this mean it is non-fiction? No, no, no. Fiction fits into the scheme. The 800s are literature. Shakepeare's plays are in 822.33. Most libraries just pull a lot of the fiction off the Dewey shelves so you won't find half the library full of row after row of 800s. But be very, very careful. Don't make assumptions as to where a fiction book will be placed.

More information on Dewey classification:
J-R 025.4 FINDLAY Digging into Dewey by Diane Findlay.
The Dewey blog

And on snake dancing?
A how-to
Edward Curtis and the Hopi snake dance
Health benefits

And where would you put a book on snake dancing? If the main focus is on the dance, in dancing. If on the snakes, with snakes. Now get up and dance.


Posted by library at 05:44 PM

March 11, 2007

SF

Science Fiction and Fantasy
The SF collection is shelved separately from other fiction and so you should check the catalog before roaming about to search for a book that could be in the SF section. Time-travelling with Connie Willis? Go to SF. With Jack Finney? Try general fiction. Why? Decisions made long ago for reasons lost in mist.
The call number prefix in the catalog will tell you where a book is located.
TPML-Adult-Fic SF WILLIS c.1 (Book) 39803500017019 AVAILABLE (in SF)
TPML-Adult-Fic FIC FINNEY c.1 (Book) 39803100133075 AVAILABLE (not in SF)

So what is in SF? A mix.

  1. Science Fiction: technology, robots, space travel, aliens, future civilizations, etc. Landscapes may be desolate or highly metallic. Interesting architecture.
  2. Fantasy: magic, dragons, unicorns, elves, wizards. Landscapes may be thickly forested and dripping damp. Any metal is apt to be filigreed. Huts and stony tors.
  3. Other Stuff: for example alternate history, fairly straight history with time travel, etc. Gore Vidal's The Smithsonian Institution might be placed here (but isn't).
Many famous authors write both "hard" science fiction and fantasy, or mix elements of both within a single work.

And remember - a book that seems to be science fiction or fantasy may be in general fiction instead.

To make things even more confusing, genre cross-over books are increasingly common. You could have a highly romantic mystery set in 2083. Where do you put it?

Want to see short reviews of a lot of recent SF books? Go to Booklist Online. We have a paid subscription which you are welcome to use.

The next time you are in the library browse through any (or all) of three wonderful reference books:
R 809.3 ENCYCLO The Encyclopedia of science fiction
R 809.3 ENCYCLO The Encyclopedia of fantasy
R 809.93372 MANGUEL The dictionary of imaginary places

In the J room we have no separate SF collection. Look for the little blue Science Fiction stickers on the spines of books.

Posted by library at 12:49 PM
Recent Entries
July, July
Dewey Dancing
SF
Other Web Logs
News
Books
Children's Room
Teen Book Buzz
Archives
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
April 2014
February 2014
January 2014
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
May 2013
March 2013
January 2013
November 2012
October 2012
August 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
February 2012
January 2012
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
February 2011
January 2011
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
April 2009
March 2009
December 2008
October 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
July 2004
June 2004
April 2004
Takoma Park city seal THE LIBRARY IS A DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF TAKOMA PARK
Call the desk at 301-891-7259
Contact the director by e-mail