Now that bookstagramming is a thing, many readers eschew traditional ordering systems to arrange their books in ways that are aesthetically pleasing. The idea is anathema to book nerds like me, who cling to alphanumerical ordering and the Dewey Decimal System as if they are lifelines, but is there a good reason why you should arrange your books by size? According to the New York Public Library (NYPL), there might be.
The NYPL's restored Rose Main Reading Room has made a lot of headlines this year. After being closed for two years following damage to its ceiling, it room re-opened on Oct. 5. The Rose Main Reading Room is one of two locations in which patrons can order and receive research materials, which are delivered via a newly installed book train that originates in the Milstein Research Stacks under Bryant Park.
Now, the NYPL has decided to re-arrange the books in its underground storage facility according to size. While that may sound nonsensical, it actually makes perfect sense when you consider that the Milstein Research Stacks can house up to 4 million volumes, thanks to a recent expansion. Arranging the underground books by size order increases the storage capacity by 40 percent.
Best of all, the new ordering system doesn't prevent librarians from finding books in the stacks. Barcodes on books in the underground collection correspond to card catalog entries that detail their "exact coordinates in the stacks — room, aisle, shelf, tray." Since the Milstein Research Stacks are only open to NYPL librarians, there are no pesky patrons to throw a wrench into the works.
Would you arrange your books by size? Let me know on Twitter!