2021 A to Z: Letter L…Weird Holidays

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2021 A to Z: Letter L

is for

Library Shelfie Day

(the fourth Wednesday in January)

How do you organize your books?

Do you do it alphabetically (which begs the question, first/ last name or title?); by color (again, are you a ROYGBIV person?); or by size/shape?

Do you put the spines out, or in?

Do you do your hard covers together versus your paperbacks?

How about by genre or by subject?

Or do you plan them out by your favorite books front and center while your to be read pile separately?

Fiction versus non fiction?

Do you stand the books straight up and down or do you make stacks and lay them flat across part of your bookcase?

The New York Public Library created Library Shelfie Day as a way to encourage people to share their love of books and libraries online. The concept is simple — snap a photo of a bookshelf (yours or your local library’s) and share it with the hashtag #LibraryShelfie.

Libraries, or some variation of them, have been around for almost as long as humankind has been recording information. Archive keeping stretches back to ancient Egyptian and Babylonian times, with clay tablets comprising transcripts and texts. Ancient Greek temples contained collections of books and archive repositories, the most notable being from the Peripatetic school founded by the eminent philosopher Aristotle. From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance to the French Revolution, libraries have endured a storied history.

In China, the attempts of record keeping and classification schemes began under the Han Dynasty in 206 BC. The elaborate seven part classifications were replaced by a simple classification which includes — Classics, History, philosophy, and Miscellaneous works. The civil service system during the rule of the Han Dynasty required applicants to know by-heart the classics to get through the difficult examinations. This system significantly contributed to the growth of libraries.

Ask A Librarian
  • The highest number of registered book hoarders are native to Finland. More than half of the population seems to be Bibliophiles!
  • The book circulation per user in America has deteriorated up to 50% since 1978.
  • Private book collectors became common from the 13th century.
  • Private libraries were a luxurious addition in the homes of Roman aristocrats. Books were considered a valuable war booty in almost every part of the world.
  • Roman statesman Lucius Licinius Lucullus acquired a library as a part of his war loot. In his benevolence, he gave access to his libraries to those who were interested.
  • The holy scriptures along with literature from Alexandria, Athens, and Asia Minor were amassed in the libraries at Constantinople. Sacred texts were also collected and stored in Mosques during the Middle Ages.

Featured image: “L is for Loop” from Digital Synopsis, created by UK based graphic designers Liam + Jord

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