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Family Valued 8.24.05


Where's the good stuff?

So, you're standing on the library's threshold with the towhead of your heart beside you. The youngster looks up in dismay and speaks the words that will haunt your childrearing nights: "So, where's the good stuff?"

All Monroe County libraries are organized using the Dewey Decimal system, which arranges non-fiction according to a primary subject tied to a number from 0 to 999. This means that books about automobiles are together under 629 (though race cars are at 796). Hardback fiction has a distinct section; while mysteries, science fiction, short stories, and paperbacks are sometimes shifted to nearby shelves.

Within these sections, books are in alphabetical order by author. Biographies are alphabetized by subject matter (for example, Little Monsters, the Real Story of Pikachu by Kitty Kelley is under "P"). The libraries have a separate area for juvenile books, imitating the adult section with divisions for non-fiction and fiction. Adolescent fiction is usually placed in a Young Adult area.

The trick is to have some sense of what will appeal to your child. Use questions like, "What do you think of when I say the words 'baby pandas'?" or "Have I ever told you about the time Abbott and Costello saved my life?" Once you've defined the good stuff, it's time to turn to:

City Newspaper Handy-Dandy Cheat-Sheet for Finding the Good Stuff in the Library


Good Stuff




Animals (baby ducks, moose, ocelots, etc.)


Juvenile books usually have more pictures; animal care is at 636

DK Eyewitness books are cool

Aztecs, Mayas

970 to 973

Some art books may be at 709

by Fiona MacDonald

Board books


Look for bucket or some such in J area near toys

Whatever is not too chewed

Books about movies


Browse through nearby shelves also; best bet is the Adult section


Camembert cheese


Nothing on Camembert in catalog; plenty on cooking

The Star Wars Cookbook by Robin Davis

Comics, graphic novels, cartoons


Little in J section, but often special area in YA; also look in Adult where children’s and adult’s mix

"It Was a Dark and Silly Night” edited by Art Spiegelman & Françoise Mouly

Construction vehicles

628, 629


Truck by Donald Crews (picture book)


745 to 748

Huge collection downtown

Squashing Flowers, Squeezing Leaves by the editors of Klutz



Good dino stuff could be in Juvenile or Adult non-fiction

Dinosaurus by Steve Parker



How-to are mostly in Adult

Ed Emberley's Big Green Drawing Book

Fairy tales


Sometimes on own shelves near picture books

The Frog Prince, Continued by Jon Scieszka

Ireland, Mozambique, Vietnam, etc.


Travel, history, and geography organized by continent and country


Knights, armor

623, 940


Knights: Warriors of the Middle Ages by Aileen Weintraub

Mad Magazine, Nintendo Power, Teen People, YM


Mags on fancy shelves on every floor downtown; in each section at branches


Magic tricks



Card Magic by Nicholas Einhorn

Myths and legends

291, 398


The Illustrated Book of Myths retold by Neil Philip

Picture books


Many shelves in J

Rain Player by David Wisniewski

Pop Characters: Pokemon, Digimon, Scooby Doo

Fiction, 791

Often mixed in with series books

Scooby-Doo!: the Essential Guide by Glenn Dakin

Series Books: Goosebumps, Geronimo Stilton, etc.


Look for special area for series books and check in both the Juvenile and YA areas

Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

Short stories


Consider stories that cross all ages: Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King, Mark Twain, and Flannery O'Connor

Curses, Inc. and Other Stories by Vivian Vande Velde

Sports: Minnesota Twins, Soccer, etc.


Specific athletes may be in biography section


Science: Why is there air?

001, 500s

Browse through 500s, starting in J section

Popular Science Almanac for Kids

Videogame guides


Some branches even have games

Fairport receives Tips & Tricks

Zombies, vampires, mummies

001, 028, 398


A Natural History of the Unnatural World by Joel Levy

--- Craig Brownlie

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