My inner librarian

Yeah, I've always been obsessed with libraries and librarians. I actually went to library school, but only got about halfway through. I took time off when Lena was born, and never went back. It was a tough commute, and the classes were so tedious. Not like law school (which I did finish), where I was never bored, not even in a class called "Secured Transactions."

Anyway, besides the fact that public libraries are what makes democracy great (free dissemination of information, more or less), there is also the endlessly fascinating question of how to organize information. One thing I have learned the hard way, based on my own various collections, is this: once you make a classification decision, do not change your mind later. If you're organizing your books and you decide that an anthology of science fiction short stories should go with other science fiction rather than other anthologies, do not change your mind later. If you're organizing your kitchen and you decide that the pie server goes in with "miscellaneous" rather than "spatulas" because you're not likely to use the pie server while frying onions, do not change your mind later. Because you will never remember which decision came first.

My inner librarian got a good workout recently. I reorganized our entire CD collection. We made the bold move, dictated by space considerations, to get rid of all the plastic cases and put the CDs and booklets in big binders. I bought three of them, thinking: one for classical, one for jazz, one for rock/pop. I deliberated long and hard over whether to create a separate section for movie soundtracks. (I did.) I pondered deeply whether to create a separate section just for my beloved Kingston Trio. (I did.) I debated with myself for a good long time over where to put Steve's CD of Sousa marches. (Final decision: International section.)

I had to decide what to do about 2-CD sets, which threatened to spoil my plan of having booklets always on the left and CDs always on the right. And then there's the question of how to alphabetize CDs that had more than one artist or composer on them. Example: Before the Flood. File under Bob Dylan, or The Band? Another example: I have a CD with one piece by Lalo and one by Saint-Saëns. Saint-Saëns is listed first on the cover, but Lalo is listed first on the spine. Hmmmm . . .

Oh, man! My inner librarian was in heaven!


  • Multiple artists go under M for multiple artists.

    Don't they?

    posted by Blogger liz on 10:17 PM  

  • Gotta know, where did you get the binders? How much did they cost? I've been thinking of consolidating and organizing our CDs, though I don't have an inner librarian to help. Sadly, I have an inner chaos-maker who will probably make finding the CDs worse...

    posted by Blogger Kate on 1:51 PM  

  • I am still unable to part with the cases to my CDs. I used to keep them in some sort of order, but evertime the kids are home they get jumbled up. So now I just tell them to put on the music... I think I like most of their stuff better than my own anyway!

    posted by Blogger Rhodent on 4:58 PM  

  • Oh ha ha, Liz! I think I'll just put everything under M for music.

    Kate, I got them at the Kmart in Fox Village and they were -- gulp! -- $40 each. They each hold 336 CDs. Case Logic is the brand. They make smaller ones, too.

    Rhodent, I'm looking forward to the day when my kids are old enough to have their "own" music. Right now they still listen to ours. Sometimes they latch on to stuff I could do without. There was a period where we had to listen to Queen's Greatest Hits every time we got in the car. That got old FAST.

    posted by Blogger Julie on 8:26 PM  

  • Is Souza under International because it's strange music?!

    posted by Anonymous Dadworm on 8:30 PM  

  • Library school is very, very boring. Luckily being a librarian isn't. Our CDs are divdied into
    men, women, folk, soundtracks and Holidays. ABC by artist within the genre. There are programs you can buy to help you catalog your books and CD collections!

    posted by Blogger GuusjeM on 9:32 PM  

  • I like organization, even when it eludes me...

    posted by Blogger mrsd on 10:27 PM  

  • You are obviously a born cataloger, library degree or no. And I mean that in the very best way.

    posted by Blogger elswhere on 1:04 AM  

  • I had a real inner librarian moment today at work which almost resulted in me sorting a bag of re-used rubber bands. Fortunately I came to my senses and put parsley into bunches of 110 grams instead. Still, I know after my outburst that one quiet day I'm going to find myself shuttled off to a corner with the bag. It will be deemed an appropriate task for a person of my star sign...bloody hippies...

    posted by Blogger Mummy/Crit on 7:32 AM  

  • Dad, Sousa isn't exactly strange. Sousa is just...well...Sousa!

    Guusje, I can't imagine how being a librarian could ever be boring!

    mrsd, (should I respond since I know she's taking a break from bloggin for the summer?), I am able to be perfectly organized in my own little realms (my desk, my car, my computer). But because I refuse to pick up after other people, the rest of my house is quite disorganized. In fact, disorganized would be a polite understatement.

    Elswhere, awwwww, thanks for the compliment!

    Crit, ha ha! I hate rubber bands. What is your sign??

    posted by Blogger Julie on 6:37 AM  

  • Virgo, natch. When I applied for the job, the bloke I talked to asked it first off, and was enthused. Bloody hippies (I say again)!

    posted by Blogger Mummy/Crit on 8:48 AM  

  • What is it with me reading posts that describe me to a T today?

    Seriously Julie. You and I would get along great with organization. I worked in libraries from elementary school through University, I even considered and took one masters level class towards a Library Science degree. Then I ended up working in a museum--a library of sorts. Talk about orgnanizational heaven. The classification possibilities and cross filings there are endless...

    posted by Blogger Sleeping Mommy on 2:11 PM  

  • Interesting news about library science for you. So did you pass the bar? I bet you did! :)

    That organizing question for CDs in particular, records earlier than that, has arisen for me. Don't get me started on other areas of my life: to alphabetize and colour-code or not....

    My husband freaked out when I set up his kitchen when we were dating, just because I alphabetized the spices. I don't think that is unusual! It's logical b/c food burns if you're hunting for that certain spice.

    Ok- he'd also tell you about my cabinet organization layout.... ;)

    posted by Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) on 12:53 AM  

  • Oh, ROFL Liz! I forgot to read comments b4 responding. Ironically a close real life friend sent me a quiz that their office took for a quiz on leadership styles, etc.
    I came out "organizer."

    posted by Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) on 12:55 AM  

  • Sleeping Mommy, my first ever job was "library aide" in 6th grade. Like heck I was gonna be a crossing guard and stand out there every morning.... But I've never worked in a museum. That sounds like a dream job for sure.

    Gel, I alphabetize my spices, too. But lately I have been thinking about grouping like items together instead. You know, cinnamon, allspice and ground ginger; basil next to oregano. Haven't done it yet, but I'm pondering. I once arranged my all my books by the color of the spines.

    posted by Blogger Julie on 7:12 AM  

  • Ooh yeah, alphabetised spices...but there are always the dilemmas....this is why I never get anything done /sorted/tidied 'cos I can't make up my mind, so it all stays in a mess. Blah. You're right Julie, you need like spices/herbs together, but they are so much easier to find when they't alphabetised. I'm so glad Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander and Cumin are easy! (I make a lot of curries)

    I once annoyed my beloved by alphabetising his CD collection while he went home to the US for the summer. It took him ages to figure out why he couldn't find anything!

    posted by Blogger Mummy/Crit on 8:16 AM