Library Management Question

bookshelves-2I’d mentioned in the Tsundoku post that I was tackling my library. Which I have been doing, and discovered that I can actually put all the books in the house on the shelves properly – if I put the Zane Grey collection on top of the shelves. They look good up there. I’ve also dusted, which is a neverending book chore. Someday, I’ll put glass shelves on all of the things. All of them! bookshelves-3

So with the pressure alleviated, I’m not going to do the massive weeding I’d planned on. Yet. Instead, I’m facing the final stage of managing my little home library: organization.

I’ll organize the nonfiction by category – the cookbooks already have their own shelf. And antique books have their own place, too. There’s a separate bookshelf for the children’s books. The Louis L’Amour’s are in our bedroom (along with my current text books) and I may even sort them alphabetically by title. I need to update my list on Goodreads of books-I-Own so I can check it with my phone before buying something.

I’m debating the fiction collection – do I organize alphabetically? By genre and subgenre?

What say you? What works for you, and why?





11 responses to “Library Management Question”

  1. Almost everything I have is fiction, so… I have adjustable shelves (I built them myself to fit a specific spot in my house), so I’ve split mine into PB & HB sections, then alpha order by author. This gives me the most space.

    Here’s a pic of my main shelf ( on Goodreads. Don’t know how to make is show up here in a comment.

    I also have a separate shelf where I put my autographed collection. If that grows much more (*fingers crossed*) I’ll have to come up with a new plan.

    BTW – everything is in the dinning room so that I can see/display them… because they are awesome! 🙂

    1. Since we’re planning on moving before too long, ours are on bought bookshelves. Built-ins would be so much better.

    2. And by the way, I love how you handled the corner!

      1. Thanks! Yeah, I couldn’t stand the thought of wasting all that room in the corner, so I innovated…:) The whole thing will separate into 3 pieces if I ever need to move it. The shelves are narrower than most, but with the 90 it solves the balance issues without having to bolt it to the wall. So, technically, it’s a free-standing shelf. 🙂 It’s not as flexible for wide books though… they would overhang a bit.

        1. It’s neat to see photos of how people designed something practical. I plan to build the next library around hardbacks since they are the largest I have in fiction, and in the nonfiction section, I’ll have to see because some of my art reference books are monsters.

  2. Granting that my collection is not as large or as organized —

    Non-fiction has a section
    My old text books (which still make great reference material) are tucked in a milk crate on the very top.
    Oversize are in their own section (subsorted)
    Fiction is sorted first by genre then by author. (with one whole shelf devoted to RAH)

    I did make a concession in the horror section – ghost stories which may or may not be “non-fiction” are blended in with the pure fiction. Ditto paranormal.

    As to why it works: the shelves are not next to each other and more than a bit cluttered, so knowing what topic/genre I am looking for (SF, Hor, Martial Arts, etc.) I know which shelf to head for.

    1. Yeah, being able to find stuff is my top priority right now, and thinning it out in preparation for an upcoming move. I’m not seriously packing yet, but if I’m organized the move will be smoother.

  3. I’m not a real librarian, but I arrange my nonfiction in Dewey Decimal order. I
    ve done it since grade school, and the Ambler public library.

    1. It’s a good way to keep track of everything 😀

  4. Reality Observer Avatar
    Reality Observer

    How to answer…

    OK, I keep my arms-reach books – in arms-reach. Shelves next to my desk have the non-fiction I use the most, and gets reorganized every so often as needs change. Right now, mathematics, astronomy / astrophysics, military manuals on top; most referenced histories and my working notebooks next; then the computer books that I kept after the drastic thinning on the bottom.

    Now, the rest of my shelves – well, how I want is not how I have right now; the project to get good built-in shelving has been nothing but fits and starts for the last two friggin’ years. The blue-light specials are beginning to show wear – I’ve gotten rid of two of them that couldn’t be salvaged – and the daughter stole one from me just a couple of weeks ago for one of hers that couldn’t be salvaged. Chaos has resulted.

    When I do finally get this finished though, I’ll do as I always have. Most-favored authors in the most accessible shelves. Most favored individual books / series for each in the most accessible spots in their “run” of shelving. Things I don’t ever touch, but can’t bring myself to get rid of yet, end up in the deep dark corners where I have to get down on the knees to even look at them…

    Oh, some I don’t get rid of for reasons of pure avarice – they have to be valuable someday! (So far, the most valuable is the original USS Enterprise blueprints, a whole $40. Ah, well, people will eventually stop wanting all of this on-line foolishness and look for things they can hold in their hands…)

  5. Books on the desk are current reference. Books in the shelves beside the desk are non-fiction writing reference, and notes for my non-fiction projects. Books in the other bookcase are fiction research and foreign language works, or for teaching. Fiction and military history books are in the bedroom, as are mythology. The “middle bedroom” is Islam and early church history. The living room is more church history and art books. We will not discuss the library (added onto the house because of an overflow of books and thinned at least once already – 3K books went to a rural county library.) It is amazing what four readers can acquire in 30 years of not moving much. because I’m not going to think about the crates of books in my storage unit (more non-fiction and research materials).