January 18, 2022

New York Public Library is Now Organizing Books by Dimensions in Underground Stacks, About Four Million Titles

From Quartz:

To maximize space, the NYPL is now storing its collection based on a book’s physical dimensions instead of shelving them based on where they fall in the Dewey Decimal System. This means that Religion and Innovation: Antagonists or Partners? which measures roughly 6 x 9 in. would be placed next to the recipe book Oyster: A Gastronomic Historywhich measures 7 x 9 in. “Content, color [of the cover]—it doesn’t matter. It’s all based on size,” explains Gerry Oliva, the NYPL’s head of facilities.


“This just maximizes the number of books you can put into the area,” Oliva says, noting that Princeton University and Columbia University’s libraries have adopted similar systems. The new book sorting system has increased the library’s storage capacity by 40%.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.