Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Folk and fairy tales library rant

I love retold fairy tales. I didn't read many of the classics growing up, living in an immigrant household, but I did watch a lot of Disney movies. It wasn't until college that I realized Disney sure took a lot of liberties with the originals. When I took Storytelling a couple years ago, I was re-hooked.

I'm currently reading A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce, a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. Although I'm loving the book so far, I'm finding it hard to remember the original fairy tale. So, I went to the library, and headed for the 398.2s, the folk and fairy tale section, and was disappointed to find that not all Rumpelstiltskins were shelved together. This was rather frustrating since I'm both a librarian and a library patron, and at that moment, I was definitely wearing my patron hat. I want to be able to go the shelf and find what I need without having to hunt around for it. Doesn't it make more sense to shelve all retellings of the same classic together? Wouldn't it be nice to find all Cinderellas next to each other on the shelf? In my future library, I say, forget Dewey - I'm putting all the similar folk tales together. Sure, maybe some people care to group the regions of the world from which the tales originated together, but I think it's far more likely that they want the actual tales together. It definitely makes browsing easier - and honestly, it makes shelving easier too. Isn't that what it's about in the first place? Easy access for patrons that actually makes sense to them. Dewey is hard enough to figure out in the first place - anything we can do to simplify it, I think, will be much appreciated by library users. Myself included!


3T said...

We recently changed our 398.2 for that reason - we had them all in 398.2, but under the reteller's name. On the one hand it was nice to have all of Diane Stanley's together, but for the most part we found our patrons just wanted a certain story - and if we weren't there next to them, they wouldn't even know to look for a retelling. They are now under 398.2 Cind, or 398.2 Gold, or whatever, which seems to be working much better for everyone! We did give the pages a break and say that, as long as all the Cinderellas were together, we didn't care what order they were in, which made them happy as well:)

Lee Wind said...

Yee-haw! Make those changes - it makes much more sense. It's actually a LOT of fun to read a whole bunch of different Cinderellas at the same time - my kid loved that!

NatalieSap said...

Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one! I was afraid the librarians would come after me... And I do quite enjoy reading several versions of the same story back-to-back. It's exciting to see the bones of a tale get reworked in so many different and wonderful ways! :)

Kathy Martin said...

Good idea! What do you do with collections of stories though?

NatalieSap said...

I actually got to recently do this at an elementary school, and we decided to keep the collections of stories where they were, either under author or editor. We just pulled out specific tales to re-catalog.

The Little Red Hen = 398.2 HEN
Beauty and the Beast = 398.2 BEA
Cinderella = 398.2 CIN

You get the picture. :)

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