Alphabetical Order or Batting Order?

Librarians around the world are often asked to weigh in on the debate around the correct way to categorise your books in a cricket library. Often there will be some heated discussions on this topic and we would like to take this opportunity to shed some light on the thinking behind the options available and allow you to make an informed decision depending on your personal circumstances.

Traditionally books are categorised according to the dewy decimal system which is a three digit number with three decimal places followed by the first three letters of the author’s surname. This is a proven method that works effectively in your traditional library and could be applied when creating a sorting system for a cricket specific library.

Modern thinking amongst cricket librarians has seen a move towards a less traditional, though highly popular method of sorting books and this is what has become known as The Batting Order Method. This puts all other systems aside and gives you the option as the librarian to select an order for the books in a similar fashion that a captain would select the batting order for their team.

It should be pointed out that this method is particularly catering to autobiographies and biographies about particular players. Generic cricket books will have a sorting method of their own as would fiction texts with a cricketing storyline.

In essence, The Batting Order Method allows you to categorise your books in such a way that you can easily locate titles written by cricketers in batting order without needing to concern yourselves with a dewy decimal number or an alphabetised code. This said, it is not uncommon to see cricket libraries using alphabetical ordering amongst the particular places within the batting order.

A real life example of this would be on the opening batsmen shelf, where books by or about Matthew Hayden are placed ahead of Bob Simpson, Michael Slater and Mark Taylor on alphabetical grounds.

It would be at the discretion of the librarian whether players such as David Boon and Justin Langer would slot into the openers section or pushed down to the shelves for the number three batsmen as they spent time batting in both positions. Another conundrum would be determining if the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh who opened the batting in ODI cricket would slot in on the top two shelves or be placed lower down the order according to where they batted in the longer formats. Again this is another area where you as the librarian have a lot of power and it must be used wisely.

For libraries with larger budgets, it is within the realms that you would stock more than one copy of such books so that they could be located in either section. Though in most cases, the head librarian will need to make a judgement call as to the best location of the book.

If using The Batting Order Method, you will only require twelve shelves, one for each place in the starting XI and another for players who were particularly good at, or make reference to their time carrying the drinks. Books by team managers, physiotherapists and coaches can also go on this shelf or have their own dedicated section elsewhere in the library.

This may not be the way to go for everyone, but at we strongly recommend you give The Batting Order Method some serious consideration when it comes to establishing your own cricket library.


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