Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The importance of organization in a library

Do you ever go up to the stacks collection on the upper level and wonder why on Earth the organization system is so crazy?  It might seem overly complicated to those not working in a library, but the following article demonstrates just how important organization is.

In The Boston Globe, "Daunting search paid off for library: Worker who found missing prints describes her dramatic discovery," we learn the story of how Boston Public Library shelved two valuable prints incorrectly, a collective value of more than $600,000.  These included Dürer’s “Adam and Eve” and Rembrandt’s “Self-Portrait With Plumed Cap and Lowered Sabre.”

There was large speculation about if it was a theft, but what it really came down to was the sheer size of the collection that has been accumulating for centuries.  They've only started organizing the collection in recent decades, going through and labeling items one by one.  When you have 320,000 items, if one thing is shelved wrong it can take ages to track it down.  In the end, they had 14 people searching through nine different rooms over the course of a month before the prints were found.

So the next time you look for a book and it's exactly where the call number says it should be, say a small thank you to organization!

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