Friday, February 7, 2014

in practice

I was recently reading a review of a children's book about Thomas Jefferson's love of book collecting, and his contribution to the Library of Congress, called Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library, by Barb Rosenstock.

I read that Jefferson had an unusual method -- for his time -- regarding categorizing and organizing his books, based on the ideas of Lord Bacon (also caught my eye given my love of...bacon), his table of science being divided into three categories, Memory, Reason, and Imagination.

I have book sorting, library creating on my mind, as on our snow day this week, I found Julia and Elliott doing just this.  Oh, and I'm married to a Librarian.

We have a small room, in the front of our house.  It is actually the front door entryway, but since the busy street is 4 feet outside the front door, we never use this door.  And so, door closed, it is a room.  And a room that we don't really have a purpose for.  I have tried a number of set ups for it, but nothing has stuck or been particularly useful and it often sits empty.  It is currently a mismosh: a dog crate, because in our antique home, there is no other place for this large monstrosity, a couch that is very heavy, which caused a silly argument between Jonathan and I when we tried to carry it upstairs, and so was then pushed against the wall and left there.  For months.  To my credit, before we picked up the couch, I said I apologize in advance for the fight we are about to have.  

Oh, and the room has another chair, to pull it all together of course.

But Julia and Elliott transformed it, and turned it into something completely different, using the nooks and crannies that this small space offers.

You enter it through the living room.

Signage is an important part of any new space, of course.

Instead of gothic gargoyles or library lions lining the entrance, we here have pink flamingoes, too fabulous to be contained by their diarama boxes.

And instead of marauding lions inside, we have Library Cat.

There were displays grouped by subject, this one, Animals that inspire.

Displays based on series, with book character stuffies to pull in the fuzz lovers.

yeah, I don't really know what's going on here.

And Julia's signature addition, a cozy place with a pencil and paper to write after being inspired by a book.  Specifically, our beloved Emily Dickinson.

They are attempting to grow their collection, and are just beginning to develop their system of classification.

I keep spying them snatching a book off of one of our shelves and running into the front hall.

I walked into the kitchen and came upon an abandoned art project on the table, and realized that, like all high minded methods of classification, sometimes one just needs to be utilitarian.

So, move over Dewey.  Enough with the distinction between illustration heavy chapter books and graphic novels.  Those who carefully distinguish between middle grade readers and young adult literature, stop now.  Because Elliott is developing a new method of categorization.  And it is very useful.  And I am liking the books that end up together following his methodology.

Currently, he is putting together books that are heavy, versus books that are light.  So that when he is drawing his latest big picture, on large sheets of paper that have been rolled and therefore do not lie flat, he has just the right books to inspire and to hold.

Apparently, he is in good company.

from the Library of Congress' website, Thomas Jefferson's Library

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