Sunday, October 7, 2012

Another ethical question about where to put a book

Patron: I'm trying to find A Million Little Pieces [by James Frey]

I show here where it is--at 362.29092 FRE, in: Social Sciences--Social welfare problems & services.

Patron: Oh, I thought it would be in fiction.


  1. Hmmm, I'd be tempted to put it in fiction, but then, I'd put a lot of stuff in fiction that isn't there now.

  2. I reported this interaction to my supervisor, and her main argument was for consistency--'I'm sure this isn't the only...embellished memoir in our collection, it's just the most famous one where the embellishments were called out. If we moved this one we'd have to go through all the other memoirs and decide which of those to move as well.'

    I suppose I kind of agree. The main result is that it makes me question why most public libraries use the system of: Dewey Decimal for nonfiction, alphabetical by author for fiction. If they just used Library of Congress (or Dewey, if it works for that) for everything, the division between fiction and non-fiction wouldn't be so stark, and I think that would help avoid a lot of these problems.

    I figure the reason for the way things are organized now is probably more historical than anything. I'll have to look into that sometime.