Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Story of the Dictionary: Or, why it's good to do inventory.

Due to a new cataloging system, I had to do a complete inventory of my library. There are 200 books marked "lost", so I'll have to spend some time tracking them down. Many are here but weren't scanned. Many have been deaccessioned and not recorded. (That 1957 book entitled Techniques in Tumbling? Not here.)

I swear I have never seen Robert Kraske's The Story of the Dictionary (1975). The last time it was checked out was 1982. Still, something about the wonderfully dated cover made me want to take it home and read it, and I was very glad I did. Although dated (I'm thinking that makers of dictionaries no longer keep citation files on index cards, and I wouldn't know where to find the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature anymore, although it was a huge part of my middle school library education.), it is filled with lots of interesting facts about words and language. Did you know that "contact" is used improperly as a verb? That the first dictionary for children was published in 1935? That Noah Webster tried to standardize what he perceived as irregular spelling in his dictionary, but people wouldn't stand for it? I imagine that there are very few copies of this to be found anywhere, but I'm keeping it. I also wish I had a copy of this author's Silent Sentinels: The Story of Locks, Vaults and Burglar Alarms and Crystals of Life: The Story of Salt. This book will be my first recommendation of the school year!

However, I'm not as wild about the 1962 copy of A Book of Giants that I found in the folktale section. Again, don't remember ever seeing it. I know it's impossible to have memorized 13,000 books, but you'd think everything would look slightly familiar!

1 comment:

  1. I just finished major weeding of my juvenile fiction section...I found a book that had not checked out since 1960!! Not to mention stuff caked in dust, items marked missing years ago, and so on. I'm almost scared to start on the picturebooks - who knows what I'll find?