Take Notes | Newberry

Take Notes

Okay, here it is July, and we need to be getting down to business. This is why we discourage donations after June 29, or July 1, or July 3, depending on whom you consulted at the Newberry. By the way, we WILL be checking security footage from the cameras near the donation box, not so much to check on illegal action as out of curiosity. How in the name of all that’s pretty did you bring over that box, three feet tall, measuring two feet wide by two feet long, and then unload it next to the missile? That it seems to have been packed exclusively with mass market paperbacks did NOT make it any lighter, and that it did not kill the Book fair Manager cannot be attributed to any good sense on his part, or yours.

Anyhow, the maps have been drawn up of what goes where, and though they are not the final word on the subject, we can give you some general ideas of where to find what. Yes, this is another one of those blogs specifically for people who like to make their plan of attack in advance of the Big Day. Those of you who prefer to wander in and ad lib it, browsing in wonder at the amazing Book Fair are perfectly welcome, but there will be some spoilers in this column.

As hinted last week, some subjects are so big that they have pushed their smaller colleagues out of the room. Room 4—the little one that used to be a locker room and is now a gallery—will be dominated by Children’s books, though we are also setting up Humor, Chicago, and Records in there. (A tip of the hat to whatever donor dropped off those seven albums filled with 45 rpm records. A quick browse turned up what seems to be a first pressing of “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?”, which runs about $20 on 45. It was part of the awkward era of pop singles, and was also issued on a 78, which is worth less than the 45 because more people had the equipment to play 78s, and predicted the 45 just wouldn’t last.)

Room 2 is going to contain nothing but Art, Cookbooks, and Collectibles. In the Book fair of 2069, each of these will probably have to have its own room, because each category runs to at least 200 boxes right now. In this room, I would like to salute the person who dropped off three boxes entirely of postcards, for which we have a hungry market, and that glorious cookbook put together by the Department of Invertebrates at the Field Museum, all about how to cook oysters, shrimp, and other invertebrates. Not only is it a fascinating book to read, it is also an excellent example of how to get even with the creatures you work with.

The other rooms will be more diverse. Room 1 will still be, to a great degree, turned over to Fiction, Mystery, Romance, and Science Fiction. Graphic Novels will be there again, perhaps for the last time (it has been a very awkward category to sort; at the very least, next year we may put the children’s graphic novels back into the Children section.) We found room to tuck in Large Print (which is where we put books on disc and all those Great Courses sets) and Games (which we will NOT be changing next year, despite a constant whine of “But these are jigsaw puzzles, not games!” Some families consider jigsaw puzzling a competitive sport and, anyway, just go over and buy that Stratego set and you can live happily ever after.)

The two big rooms should be largely recognizable from last year, though there has been a bit of swapping. How To (Head) will be in Room 5 and How To (Hands) will be in Room 3, which is the opposite of last year. Antiques, which was pushed out of Room 2 by the massive Cookbook and Art donations, will be in Room 3, while Archaeology and Anthropology, which the Children shoved out of Room 4, will be in Room 5. (This means they will be half a building away from American Indian Studies and African-American Studies, which usually sit next to them, but which have had to take up residence in Room 3 this year. A goodly quantity of the books from Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin, if you’ve been panting for them all spring due to the blogs, will thus be found in Room 3.)

Sports has been shuttled to Room 3, LGBTQ—our new category—will be in Room 5, but big subjects like Foreign Language, reference, Literature, and Travel will be pretty much where you found them last year. Oh, and Checkout will be in Room Four-and-a-Half.

You’ll understand it all when you get here. I’m sure you won’t have trouble finding books.

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