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Just Browsing? Why it’s Important November 30, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Floor, Books, Just Browsing, Public libraries, readers, Reading, West Palm Beach Public Library.
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Do you enjoy browsing for books?  Many people do, but I believe I read somewhere that this behavior is on the decline.  So I’ve decided to give you permission to browse, and to tell you why I am convinced it’s a good thing for you to do.

I’m aware that there is much to be done and little time in which to do it.  I can be very task-oriented myself.  This is a good thing in certain situations, but taken to excess, it can create a very limited, hunched-over, tightly wound individual.  I suggest browsing for books as a fabulous way to de-stress and open your mind a little.

So – you enter the ground floor of the West Palm Beach Public Library.  You have a few minutes to spare on your lunch hour.  Wander into the collections.  Yes, you may head straight for your favorite (Mysteries?  Food & Wine?) – but how about something completely different?  For now, judge the books by their covers.  Open a few and read the first few paragraphs.  Act on impulse – the price is right!

How do you feel now?  Perhaps you will read about another culture, or learn a new craft.  Maybe you will plan a trip or think about starting your own business.  There is a wonderful feeling of possibility in a library, a sense of new worlds to explore.  I’m feeling better just thinking about it.  How about you?

Happy Reading!

The Book Goddess

P.S.  While this article was originally addressed to West Palm Beach Public Library patrons (in the Holiday 2009 issue of Library Currents), I’m sure that most of my readers have a favorite library or bookstore for browsing.  We need to cherish and support these wonderful resources!

Doing without Dewey June 9, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Floor, Books, Just Browsing, Librarians, Public libraries, West Palm Beach Public Library.
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The Rangeview Library District near Denver has decided to discontinue use of the Dewey Decimal system for its shelving arrangements.  They will use an organizational scheme similar to a bookstore.  I do not know all the details of how this will work, but since the Rangeview Director, Pam Sandlian Smith, is my former boss, friend, and generally greatly admired person, I am quite interested in seeing how it turns out.  And let’s just say that most of Pam’s ideas turn out to be very good ones.  (Keep in mind that she dubbed me the “Book Goddess.”) 

We actually considered this approach for our Book Floor at the West Palm Beach Public Library, but eventually chose to use bookstore categories AND keep the Dewey Decimal system.  So – we do have a separate cookbook section, and a history section, and even some more unusual sections like Guys Read and Go Green, but within those sections the books are arranged by Dewey. 

I was a bookseller for eight years before I went to library school, and I like to think that I can see the strong and weak points of each system.  At our library, I believe we have the best of both.  You can walk in the door and go right to the section of your choice (there are about 50) and enjoy browsing as you might at a bookstore.  You can also use the computer catalog or the assistance of a friendly library employee to find the exact book that you want.  

There were a number of considerations that went into our decision making, but I think that we arrived at the best arrangement for our library.  If you visit the Denver Post site, you can see the article and comments about the Adams County Public Library.  I’m happy to see that people care so much about their local library. 

Happy Reading,

 

The Book Goddess

Before You Do Your Holiday Shopping… November 6, 2008

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Now that the election is over, some of you will be turning your minds to the upcoming holidays.  Who will bring the sweet potatoes?  Will the dining room table seat everyone?  Will Uncle Oscar behave himself this year? 

And many of you will be shopping.  There are an infinite number of objects that one might buy, but I’d like to suggest you consider buying books as holiday gifts.  There are a number of reasons, not the least of which is supporting the publishing industry and your local bookstore, and they could certainly use the help. 

But more important are the memories you might be creating.  My mother used to give me the latest Agatha Christie every Christmas.  When I turned 16, my aunt gave me books of poetry by Emily Dickinson and Sara Teasdale.  My oldest friend still uses the Gourmet Cookbook I gave her as a wedding present. 

Yes, you will have to put more thought into this than a gift certificate.  But when you get it right, it’s a really wonderful connection with the recipient. 

So wander into that bookstore with your list in hand and see what materializes.  And be sure to pick up something for yourself! 

Happy Reading and Shopping, 

The Book Goddess

P.S.  Have you ever received a wonderful book as a gift?  I would love to hear about it!