All the Right Numbers

Many of you know that, since June of last year, I have been working out in the fiction stacks, identifying books which will comprise our new genres.  That phase of the project is now complete, and the time is approaching, in mid-February, when we will move all of the books into the various genre sections.

IMG_1759But before we move anything I first must make calculations to determine the number of book stack sections allotted to each of the seven genres, plus general fiction.  The books for the new genres are scattered throughout the fiction collection, and measuring the spine width of each would be both inaccurate and very time consuming.  Instead, I’m using a spreadsheet which calculates the shelf space currently occupied by each genre based on the number of books on the shelves and the average spine width of each volume.  And then the remaining shelf space is allotted based on the projected number of new titles for each genre that we will receive in a given year.

Even minor variations in the spine width estimate can cause problems, so I am using the science of statistics to get the most accurate data.  Pulling random volumes from each genre off the shelves, measuring the linear feet of those volumes on a shelf, and dividing by the number of volumes in the row gives me that average spine width number.  And there is indeed some variation in average spine width from genre to genre.

The widest average spine width (1.4625 inches) is found in the Historical Fiction genre.  The narrowest volumes (.9958 inches) are found in the Mystery genre.  All the other genres fall somewhere in between.  Time to crunch more numbers – moving date is approaching!

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