The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
From the Stacks

How Would You...?

Arranging books in a meaningful or practical way is the goal, but if you could arrange books in any way, how would you do it?

As you might guess, librarians spend time thinking about how to arrange books. While the goal is generally how we can make it easier for someone to find a book, sometimes it is just random thoughts.

Back in my early days of reference I thought arranging by color would be great. It would look interesting and it would have been handy when someone couldn’t remember the title, but could remember it was a big green book about American history.

Then arranging them by size has always been a “wouldn’t it be great” wish. The shelves would be lined up, smaller books wouldn’t get hidden between tall books and you could make designs with the heights. Sounds architectural.

But lately, I have been thinking about making book title sentences or poetry. You could arrange the titles of your books to make a statement. Think magnetic poetry, only with books.

For example, shelve We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson next to Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. You will have We Have Always Lived in the Castle Where the Wild Things Are. Or, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson next to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Foer, you will have Speak Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

You get the idea. So next time you are looking at your bookshelves see if you can arrange them to talk to you.

Find this article at