Friday, August 22, 2014

From MAR to POI

A month and two weeks have passed since we made our move West to what might be called the Lake District adjoining Metro Detroit. It took that long since, yesterday, I braved an awesome traffic circle (a new one, and they’re very popular on new roads around here) to find our new library, formally the Commerce Township Community Library or, in modernese, CTCL. CTCL is associated to something that calls itself the The Library Network (TLN), made up of 65 regional libraries that, together, share a common catalog. The catalog is much more complicated and, initially, more difficult to use. The advantage is that one can order books from a rather large number of libraries and, patience playing its role, have it delivered at the nearest one to us.  That practice, Brigitte reminds me, is called an ILL, an inter-librart loan. I noted, this morning, that the larger libraries in our region, of which the Grosse Pointe System is one, do not participate in TLN. Nor does the most serious near one, the Southfield Public Library, an awesome library known to me because our offices once were near there. Alas.

A while back we spent a couple of weeks here at Monique’s “house sitting” for a spell. At that time, about a year or so ago, I noticed that the CTCL had had its DVD collection interfiled with books. Such an arrangement produces major problems, of course. Most films, do not have “authors” in the strict sense of the word. I did manage to find some of the Agatha Christy DVDs under C for Christy (or was it under A for Agatha? I forget.) In any case, I told Brigitte at the time that should we ever move West, I’d certainly volunteer to organize the Commerce films using separate shelves. Little did I suspect the problems I might encounter doing so.

Well, it turns out, they’ve actually done that job in the meanwhile. Some free space (and the library is pleasantly roomy) has now been equipped with shelves; all of the movies are now together. The classification system is by the title of the movie—which makes good sense. Commerce evidently uses the Concourse system, in use for a couple of decades by now and offered by BookSystems. Evidently the Grosse Pointe Library also uses the same classification approach; it too, like this one has made me wonder and shake my head. If you look for Agatha Christy movies, for example, and go to the letter C, you won’t see anything appropriate. By title, please, always by title. Looking for a Dorothy Sayers DVD? If you look under S  for Sayers you won’t find that worthy lady—but you might find Strong Poison—and Gaudy Night under G. Sometimes, however, given the interpretation applied by the librarian using the Concourse system, you actually might discover all of Sayers’ or Ruth Rendell’s DVDs together—because the largest name, on the cover of the DVD, will be the author’s name, not the title of the particular story. So it was in Grosse Pointe on some, but by no means all, such series.

Here at Commerce, Agatha Christy DVDs, clustered powerfully around Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, may be found under MAR for the lady and POI for the gentleman. But, at this stage, my research is far from over. Where, for instance are Tommy & Tuppence? Are they under TOM or TUP?

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