The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 18, May 3, 2020, Article 33


On the NBS Facebook page, Tom Fort posted a link to this New York Times article on how to organize one's library. -Editor

Home library shelves Looking to make the most of time spent stuck at home, many of us are turning to books.

And with good reason: Reading a new novel or a classic you've been meaning to get to for years — or even experimenting with recipes you've never tried in an old cookbook — is one of the few reliable ways to escape the onslaught of pandemic-related news.

But how much thought have you given to the way you store your books? Even if your collection seems like a mountainous, unruly mess, it can add appeal to your home — provided you display it well.

Books "tell a story about who the homeowner is," said Nina Freudenberger, the owner of the design firm Haus Interior in Los Angeles, and the author of "Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home with Books."

"Books tell us about what someone was interested in, what their passions are, what their beliefs are and what kind of person they hope to be," Ms. Freudenberger said. "Homes without books have no soul."

Choose an Organizational System
To help make sense of your collection and keep it organized over time, commit to a system — any system — for putting your books in some kind of order.

"Organization is key," said Robert Novogratz, who, with his wife, Cortney, runs the Novogratz, a bicoastal design firm that recently introduced the book "Novogratz Design Fix: Chic and Stylish Tips for Every Decorating Scenario."

But different people have very different preferences.

Many avid book collectors, Mr. Novogratz said, are "old-school Dewey Decimal kind of people," who prefer organizing books by topic or author so they know exactly where to find each and every volume.

Others prefer organizing books in a way that delivers a graphic punch. Although purists may blanch at the suggestion, one method that has increased in popularity in recent years is grouping books by the color of the spine to create a rainbow across the bookcase.

Can you see me blanching? I imagine most numismatic bibliophiles are like me, organizing their libraries by subject. But there are other ways of doing it that have merit. When I visited Frank and Laurese Katen I was surprised to see that the library was arranged alphabetically by author. That system can be useful since every book has one primary author or editor, but many books cover more than one subject. Which one should you file it under? More often the question becomes which subject did I file that one under? This week I wanted to check something in David Lange's books on coin albums, but I just couldn't find where I put them - some books are in a category all their own. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Finally There's Time to Read (or at Least Organize Your Books) (

Scott Miller forwarded this BBC News article, asking, "Isn't this how books are supposed to be shelved?" -Editor

Books shelved by height

A well-meaning cleaner who took the opportunity to give a locked-down library a thorough clean re-shelved all of its books - in size order.

Staff at Newmarket Library, Suffolk, discovered the sloping tomes after the building underwent a deep clean.

James Powell, of Suffolk Libraries, said staff "saw the funny side" but it would take a "bit of time" to correct.

"It looks like libraries will be closed for a while so we'll have plenty of time to sort the books out", he said.

"The cleaner is lovely and does a great job in the library. It was an honest mistake and just one of those things so we would never want her to feel bad about it," he added.

To read the complete article, see:
Coronavirus: Library books rearranged in size order by cleaner (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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