One thing is certain about the occult community: we love books. I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us have at least a couple dozen books on paganism and the occult. But what about those who own more than a hundred or more magical volumes? You know, those people whose bookshelves are testament to their insatiable appetite for knowledge. How the hell do we keep it all organized? Read on for some professional librarian tips for organizing your collections of massively magical and mundane beasts.
Did you know…that every time a disorganized book collection is allowed to exist, a librarian loses his voice? Shhhhhhhh is our desperate cry for help!
“Organization” implies efficiency and connection between related elements in a structure. Libraries are made up of smaller collections of materials that make up a single larger collection (the library). Similarly, the human body is an organ made up of smaller organs (liver, lungs, brain, heart, etc.). Every thing, whether in the body or in the library, has a purpose and is connected in some way to the larger organ/collection as a whole.
So, let’s start by asking you these questions:
1) Who am I organizing this library for?
2) Do I have more than 50 books of a single genre?
3) Is it currently a challenge to quickly find the books I need?
4) The most important question: Do I really give a shit about organizing this collection of books?
If so, proceed.
Step #1: Separate fiction from nonfiction
The first step in taking back control of your treasured book is to separate your titles into Fiction or Nonfiction.
What is fiction? In this context, fiction is any form of literature based on imaginary events or people.
Do magical books, occult grimoires, or books on witchcraft and paganism count as fiction? Technically, no. Ask a person who subscribes to a faith that dismisses all other belief systems as false and their answer may be different. However, in Library Land, books written about cultural practices and beliefs are non-fiction unless the author intends to write religious fiction.
Step #2: Sort by gender
Once you’ve separated your titles by Fiction or Nonfiction, sort them by their genres. Fiction and nonfiction genres include:
Fiction Genres: Literature, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Westerns (there is a enormous pocket market for this genre!), Crime, etc.
Nonfiction Genres: Biography and autobiographies, reference books (such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, maps, and manuals), history, science (biology, chemistry, etc.), philosophy, religion (excluding religious fiction), self-help, textbooks, etc.
In the magical library, books can be organized by subject: Herbalism, Wicca, Traditional Witchcraft, Psychic Development, Crystals and Stones, Ceremonial Magic, Druidry, Sabbath Crafts, and the list goes on.
Step #3 – Sort by Author then Title OR Author then Publish Date
This step is pretty self explanatory. So, you’ve sorted your library by Fiction and Nonfiction and then by Genre. The next step is to organize those genres by author’s last name.
If your collection contains prolific authors (authors who have written many books), then it may be worth taking the extra step to sort by author first, then title OR author, then publication date.
Tip to keep in mind: Sorting by author and then publication date can be useful if you own a series of books, such as Christopher Penczak’s. witchcraft temple Serie. If you ordered the one from Penczak temple series by Title instead of Publication Date, then the books would be out of order, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Step #4: Take the Chaotic Approach
The average chaotic book collector dumps their books in a few piles around the house. You know, those people who use books as paperweights, coasters, doorstops, and relatively minor weapons of destruction. These people are the honey badgers of the world of book collecting. There are piles of books on the nightstand, in a tote bag, in the closet, on the kitchen table, and in the car. Maybe these people have bookshelves, but there is no rhyme or reason to the organization of their collection.
And you know what? That’s great, too.
Our private book collections are intimate glimpses into our hearts and minds. They reveal our interests, our insecurities, our desires, our beliefs and the paths we have traveled to gain knowledge about our world. How or whether or not we choose to organize and display our books is a personal choice and reflects who we are as people, at least on some level. Many of us take pride in organizing our collections, even if we’re the only ones using them.
But does being the only user of a collection mean that it should not be cared for and cared for? Absolutely not. treat yourself. But also treat me and all other librarians knowing that you are a shepherd of rebellious book collections. Doing so is like leaving offerings to the spirits.
Did you know…That for every organized collection of books there is, a librarian gets another tattoo to hide under their cardigans? You say “book cover” and we say “arm cover”.
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