The human animal differs from the lesser primates in his passion for lists. H. Allen Smith
As I’ve said a time or two million before, I love lists. Long, short, alphabetical, chronological, or numerical, pro or con, to do or already completed. If it’s a series of words or concepts written in a column I’m all over it. The saying at my house is “If it’s not on the list it doesn’t exist.” This doesn’t just apply to shopping, packing and chores, it’s an all-encompassing motto that we use on a daily basis, often several times a day.
Is it any wonder that I work in a place that’s built around lists? After all, what’s the library catalogue but a list of all of the items at the library? Take something like The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. When you look up the title you’ll see a list of the print books, audio books, book club kits and critical essays. But the fun doesn’t stop there. You can place a hold on any or all of these items, adding them to your holds list. Or you can create a temporary list, so that you can come back to it after you’ve done some more searching. As if that wasn’t enough, you could also add the title to your list of items you want to read or place on hold at some time in the future. For a list lover, life doesn’t get any better than this.
Sometimes it’s good to have a look at someone’s else list, too. When that moment arises, you can always turn to the WPL website. With a quick click on the search catalogue option, you can see what’s at the top of the Globe and Mail and McNally Robinson Bestseller lists. If you’re looking for award winners there are lists for that too, from the Governor General to the Prix littéraire, all connected to that handy list known as the library catalogue.
Just when you thought you’d run out of library lists, we’ve come up with more! Info Guides are lists (there’s that lovely word again) of links created by library staff to library content and websites on all sorts of topics, from Adult Literacy to Science and Technology. The fun thing about the list of Info Guides is that you can search it or rearrange it according to your wishes – alphabetically, by popularity or by the most recent addition. LGBTTQ+ is one of the newest Info Guides in the collection, with a wide range of information, including recommended reads, local support groups and organizations, and online resources. All of the Info Guides are constantly being updated, so there are new things to check out all the time, and, dare I say, add to a list.
And, of course, for the truly dedicated list lovers out there, there are entire books dedicated to lists. Where to go, where not to go, best of, worst of, trivia, the selection is almost limitless. If you can think of it, odds are there’s a book out there somewhere listing it.