Saturday, December 25, 2010

How I Organize My Books

Since I have so many books, I need to have some method of organization so I can find them when I am looking for a particular book. My library is the same size as our bedrooms, lined with bookshelves. When you walk in, if you begin at the left side, you are in the science section. I organize this section by The Days of Creation. First are topics that have to do with light, creation, etc. Then subjects like atmosphere, weather, etc. Next comes geology, water systems, plants, seeds etc. Then astronomy topics, oceans and all water creatures, birds, land animals, dinosaurs (I put fossil, evolution and paleontology books here) , reptiles, amphibians, insects, bacteria etc. Finally, I have all topics related to man, such as anatomy, human biology, digestion, etc. here. I follow these sections with groupings of books about technology, architecture, locomotion, medicine etc. etc. Basically, science-related human accomplishments, I guess, for lack of a better term.

Once past science, I begin my author/illustrator section. I collect many different authors and illustrators and keep them in alphabetical order here. Some pose a problem, like Margaret Wise Brown books illustrated by Barbara Cooney. In this case, I think of who I would first associate the book with, the author or the illustrator and shelve it accordingly. This is the funnest section of the library, I think.

Following the author/illustrators, comes some miscellaneous shelves. One holds living math books, one poetry, one musical arts (ie: composer biographies and related items), some hold series (ie: The Bible Story, The Book of Knowledge, The Picturesque Tale of Progress), one folk and tall tales, one Brothers Grimm books, one past times and how-to books (ie: drawing books, how to play chess, how to perform card tricks and illusions, etc), one Christmas books.

Next come my favorite shelves: historical. I begin this section with the Ancients. Ancient Greece and her stories, Ancient Rome, Ancient China. Each historical book I get goes on these shelves in the proper timeline order. I can find any particular book quickly since its chronological. I can also pull a section easily for a topical study. This is the largest section of the library.

Finally come the novels. Lots and lots of novels. Poor double shelved (and more, sometimes) novels. The novels begin here, but many are also shelves on bookcases in the older childrens' rooms. On occasion, I switch all the novels shelves around. This leads to the older Lambies finding books they had overlooked or never seen before.

Books that are used for our curriculum (Ambleside Online) are shelved separately in the family room by Year. I can easily move a child up or down in books, as needed, since they are already pulled and ready.

Easy reader books are in the bedroom of the child or children that are at that level. Board books are in a wicker basket in my youngest sons room. I've given away most, since he's five and we have no babies. I've kept any that are good literature for visitors and future grandchildren. Troubles looks at them still, too.

I hope you have enjoyed a peek into my library. Please tell me about your organizational system!


  1. oh. my. goodness. My husband thought I had a lot of books - you put our little library to shame! I've been meaning to post pics of our bookshelves...but they're not organized the way I want. My husband has promised to build me bookshelves in our office/library that I'm very excited about. I know what you mean about organizing picture books by author vs illustrator...I tend to go with illustrator.

  2. I would say you need therapy, but your therapy is your problem. Or should I say your problem is your therapy. I'm confused now.


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