This part of Ranganathan’s rules is really about the physical arrangement and organization of the library space. Books (and other library materials) should be organization in a useable, time-saving way.
Most libraries use a classification system for their nonfiction books in which books on similar subjects are places together, and organize fiction in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. Age-appropriate materials are organized in different sections (children, teen, adult) and some certain genres are put into their own collection. Libraries also have librarians who facilitate this organization and help readers find the books and information they are looking for.
But this is not a post about how Ranganathan’s Laws of Library Science apply to libraries, but how Ranganathan’s Laws of Library Science apply to readers and writers. I could borrow a page from Elmore Leonard, who said in his Ten Rules of Writing, “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”
There is something to be said in the conciseness of writing, both in prose and storytelling. However, that is the writing advice of our era. Other eras were quite grandiose and detailed in their writing styles, but that was the trend as opposed to now. Readers of then had less alternate entertainments than we do now, they wanted to have lots of words to read.
So how can a writer save the time of the reader, when we writers inherently want to take their time to have them read what we wrote. And what can I say other than banging the gavel with ‘concise writing’ talk you’ve all certainly heard before.
Save the time of your reader, but not by purely trying to carve a few second off their reading time by whittling away a few extra words in your manuscript. Save their time by making what you wrote, when read, not time wasted. Make it worth it.
Insights from the life of an aspiring, struggling writer; a passionate reader, and a working librarian.
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