Having already admitted my fondness for the 590s, I must now solidify my geekiness by confessing that my sentimental favorite in the Dewey Decimal system is the 630s. Or, to be more specific, 636.1 (horses). I acquired this fondness via a job shelving books for the children’s department of the library in my hometown, a noble calling that I pursued for four years, or was it five? Lest I sound sarcastic, I really did love the job, and still look back on my time there with great fondness.
I put books in their places, tidied the shelves when they got sloppy, and cleaned up stacks of books left behind after a kid had rampaged through every book on hampsters (631, maybe?) or dinosaurs (567). Most of all, I got to know the books. I swear that some of the most popular books went out and came back again every other day. Even the less active books became familiar, to the point that the combination of a book’s size, shape, cover material, and color evoked a satisfying sense of recognition.
I also inadvertently memorized the Dewey Decimal system, or at least the parts that pertained to children’s literature. It used to be my best party trick– give me a topic and I’ll tell you the call number! (I go to really wild parties). Even now, when most of the numbers are a vague memory, 636.1 sticks with me. I think my fondness for that particular number is two-fold. For one thing, I liked (no, loved) horses when I was a kid. Equally as important, the books in that section had clear call number stickers, were mostly hardcover, not too skinny, each with a distinctive appearance. In short, they were easy to shelve!
636.083209581 One Dog at a Time: Saving the Strays of Afghanistan, by Pen Farthing.
631.4 Teaming* with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis.
636.7 Through a Dog’s Eyes: Understanding Our Dogs By Understanding How They See the World, by Jennifer Arnold.
*Do you think they meant teeming? Could they really have such a rotten typo in the title, or were they being punny?