I have a reputation around the library of not liking the 800’s, meaning books that have a Dewey number classification in the 800s: plays, poetry, essays, literary criticism, satire and humor, literature.
When I made the comment that has earned me that reputation, I was referring to the amount of shelf space we devote to the 800s in comparison to the number of times books in these categories are checked out in a year. It was in the context of a discussion about books needing to “earn” their shelf space and a comparison to retail – more retail shelf space is devoted to items that sell. In our case, “selling” generally means circulating, although some books, of course, are used within the library and not checked out to a patron.
In the case of the 800s, we devote much more space to them than the circulation percentage would warrant, but we aren’t in the retail business either.
Collection maintenance, ordering new titles and discarding old ones, is a delicate balance within libraries. We want to have the new, hot titles; we want our shelves to look inviting; we want patrons to check out our materials; but we also want to have that old, favorite title a patron wants to reread or a title someone wants to browse, but not check out.
Our librarian staff is experienced at finding this balance, using a variety of tools, including circulation statistics, lists of standard titles, and their experience helping patrons. We also keep current on old titles that might have a new life through a movie version or renewed attention to the author.
Come visit soon; I’m betting we will have what you want to read next.
P.S. I really don’t dislike the 800s, actually I read quite a few books of essays, but I admit, I don’t read poetry very often.
800s: plays, poetry, essays, literary criticism, satire and humor, literature