Well I Never!

F You label(No idea what book this is…)

Submitter: This came in from Brodart today.  A real smack in the face!

Holly: Ha ha!  So it’s presumably “F” for Fiction and “You” is either the first three letters of the author’s last name, possibly the entire author’s last name, or maybe the first word of an edited (not authored) title.  You’re bound to have this happen at some point.  Couldn’t they just that one time break convention and put “FIC” or “FICTION” instead of just F? Is it so automated that no one even had the chance to make a decision like that?  Every now and then I see this kind of thing in a youth section, where it is extra funny inappropriate.



  1. I’m about 100% positive that the book is Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young. I don’t know if it is kind of sad or kind of awesome that I can tell that much from the picture. I’ve done far too much shelving I suppose.

  2. Our library doesn’t mark fiction with a sticker – and the pine of the book generally has the author’s name, so it’s a bit redundant. Why put a sticker like that on the fiction? Are the shelvers in that library that incompetent?

  3. The book is “Cross Roads” by William Paul Young. I found it by searching for “Faith Words”, the publisher listed at the bottom.

  4. As a library shelver, although these days we do a lot more than that, I have to say the assumption that a clerk in tech services would design a sticker for incompetent staff highly amusing. No one ever consults pages or “shelvers” as you call it, on anything that is decided in the library, no matter how smart we are. I have seen many systems at work where I could have done it better. Oh and I love that we are not only incompetent, but especially so in this case.

    1. Woe to the library that doesn’t listen to pages/shelvers. I make it point to consult the pages on any idea especially the ones that address the flow of materials in the library. The insight they bring to the table is invaluable.

  5. One more point: this wouldn’t happen in a Dewey Library. LOC = Better mousetrap? Ponder away.

  6. I will always think of Beet and Moza and Chop, Debu and Shos, with classical music. ANSCR system. They love when I call them that. Old Beet especially.

  7. @Patrick – Dewey’s for non-fiction. Fiction is always shelved under the author’s last name.

    I’m surprised being a hard back book it doesn’t have the author’s full last name. In our system only paperbacks get the 3-letter treatment.

  8. A similar problem in the UK occurs with the autobiographical works of Terry Wogan, popular Irish TV & radio personality. These will be classified at B (or 920) WOG. Unfortunately that 3 letter word is a highly offensive term of racist abuse, equivalent to having ‘the N word’ appear on a book’s spine in the USA…

  9. In the Netherlands we have the first 4 letters of an auther on the spine, unless it’s a collection of stories by different authors, then we take the four first letters of the title. We ended up with the title ‘Hoera, een verjaardag!” (Hooray, a birthday!) shortened to ‘Hoer” (Whore). Whoops.

    OTOH: Marion van de Coolwijk got shortened to ‘Cool’ and we know kids love cool books. 🙂

  10. Mary – I’m prepared for that. “OMG, I had NO IDEA it said that!!! Let me explain!!!” + hope they don’t read ALB.

  11. The call number for one of our biographies of Crazy Horse is 921 Crazy Ho. I keep waiting for someone to complain.

  12. In my library we *used* to have hardcover fiction by Barbara Ucko. Its spine label sticker, was, I kid you not


    and the source of a gale of laughter from the pages who shelf-read. Note that they never had to shelve Ucko’s books, because they were never borrowed, and thus weeded.

  13. @Jami Not all Dewey libraries put the entire fiction collection under F or FIC. Ours is in 813 and 823.

  14. Frankly I’m missing how shelvers are supposed to identify unmarked fiction as such (per the earlier comment). Unless the assumption is that all libraries are big enough for the carts of to-be-shelved to just have one section worth of stuff. Ours is not. It’s all jumbled together for them.

  15. I’m especially amused because this is “Christian fiction” by a religious publisher. LMAO!

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