Leave it to an upscale-ish college town like Berea OH to dump a century of subject analysis and arrange their books into “neighborhoods”, so they’ll be more like Borders : i.e., so you won’t be able to find anything unless you ask a librarian with multiple piercings who won’t be able to find it either.
The neighborhoods collection was inspired and guided by a celebrity librarian, Nancy Pearl of National Public Radio. She visited Berea and attended the first few meetings to plan the collection.
“Celebrity Librarian?” Never heard of her. “Radio celebrity“, perhaps. And the idea of getting an entire city to read the same book at the same time strikes me as being Orwellian, and certainly not part of the “value of diversity” we both imbibed at the University of Michigan. There’s an interview here with a recurring motif which gives me the willies: “People need to believe that they can find themselves or a version of themselves on library shelves.” I guess that might work in this narcissistic culture. I’ve always read to escape myself, whom I know all too well, and to learn how the world works, which is necessary to my survival. And I wanted to know and hang with cool people, even if only between the covers. (That’s why I can’t abide to be in the same room as Desperate Housewives; those people are disgusting!) However, the idea of a librarian action figure opens many possibilities. One might even make a better range accessory than the Ted Strickland “Read” poster.
To be fair, they haven’t totally dumped traditional shelf classification, even within the “neighborhoods”. But I really don’t see the fundamental relationship of foreign languages, travel, and US History (Oddly enough, foreign history is not included, even though it has a more intrinsic relationship to foreign languages than US history does.) Will anyone else?