Monday, September 10, 2007

Ignorance in the library

I went to the public library today, to exchange some books on tape for other books on tape. For a change I wandered through the non-fiction isle. Now, this may not be my culture, so I may be wrong about this, but for some reason I always thought William Shakespeare's plays were fiction.

But the worst was yet to come. The shelf right above the one containing "Romeo and Juliet." There were titles such as: "God: the right way." This was not actually a title on the shelf, but one I've made up, however, you get the idea. There were numerous similar-sounding jesus and or god-praising title. Now what is this junk doing on the non-fiction shelf? I think I might write a complaint to the library. Something to the effect that I could not find my favorite god-fiction, because for some reason it was filed with "the other real stuff."

3 comments:

knobody said...

*snicker* i think i need to go to the library this week :).

Paul said...

If I squint real hard, I might just possibly imagine filing Shakespeare under non-fiction, but the Bible?

knobody said...

a little more thought and a little more research. i *think* our library uses a form of the dewey decimal system.

It is a common misconception that all books in the DDC are non-fiction. The DDC has a number for all books, including those that generally become their own section of fiction. If DDC rules are strictly followed, American fiction is classified in 813. Most libraries create a separate fiction section to allow shelving fiction in a more generalised fashion than Dewey provides for, or to avoid the space that would be taken up in the 800s. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dewey_Decimal_Classification)

also, DDC has a whole section (200's) on religion. it makes no distinction on whether or not the religion is fiction or non-fiction. according to our library's online catalog a search for "god" produced more hits than i cared to look up, but included in the 200's are works on christianity and Dawkins' The God Delusion. see, not discriminatory.

how our particular library decides which books go in the literature section of the DDC (800's) and which go in the separate fiction section of the library, i don't know.