In the Library, with a Board Game

Cluedo Library card

There’s nothing like real-world situations to reinforce classroom learning.

A friend posted a picture of his board game collection to Instagram today, and asked for people’s advice on how to shelve them. I, being a librarian-in-training, immediately turned to Google.

A different friend (Alissa McCulloch,  aka @lissertations on Twitter) had recently written an article about cataloguing  board games, complete with a literature review and some very detailed MARC instructions. Alissa is a cataloguing mega-nerd, and her instructions are awesome.

But they don’t cover shelving.

I found a post on the LITA Blog by Lauren Hays from 2014 that again discussed MARC records for board games (in much less detail than McCulloch’s paper). It’s the first comment by Christopher Harris, though, that’s much more interesting when it comes answering my friend’s question:

Game authors have followings like book authors with titles that will be published from multiple sources. Shelving by author as opposed to title allows a single author’s body of work to be considered as a whole for comparisons and as a source of next-play recommendations.

And finally: this post by Wyatt Fertig on Stuffy Library discusses 6 Lessons From the Library: Circulating Board Games (One Year Later). A throwaway comment on one of the photos states “We use face out shelving to make the collection look more appealing.”

It’s a short article, but worth a read. The six lessons, by the way, are:

  1. Board Games DO Get Broken
  2. You Are Probably Not the First at Anything
  3. Ask For Help
  4. Buy Local (if it makes sense)
  5. Who is Your Audience?
  6. Support a Collection Through Programming

Back to shelving: many libraries find Dewey Decimal Classification too archaic and confusing to their patrons, and are shifting to shelving material by subjecting groupings such as BISAC or PIM.

Presumably, a dedicated librarian could use something like the Boardgamegeek categories to create similar shelving classifications.


About davidwitteveen

IT person. Zine Maker. Level 0 Library Nerd. Doctor Who fan.
This entry was posted in ideas worth stealing, library nerding and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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