The idea of starting one’s own library with a number of books, both the fiction type and the non-fiction type, was first introduced in Greece. This was considered to be the rights and privileges of wealthy families, during the olden times.
The libraries were either public or private, depending up on the person who used them. People who were interested in reading could use these libraries. The difference of these public libraries from the modern ones was that the olden public libraries were owned by the person from the wealthy family, and not financially supported by public forces, unlike today. By the end of the 3rd century, there were almost 30 public libraries of this kind. Libraries like the Library of Alexandria were also present in the old Mediterranean region. As time went by, monasteries and churches started to bring up libraries for the public. But the disadvantage here was that the books couldn’t be borrowed and some of them were even chained up to avoid thefts.
The modern libraries for the public began to be introduced by the 15th century, and this began as people started donating books. In the United States, this system came into being by the late 19th century, with lavish donations from Andrew Carnegie. But again, the introduction of public and private libraries brought about a classification between the rich and the poor. The rich ones could afford a private library, whereas the poor had to depend on public libraries to read books.
It was the effort of the Paperback Books which led to a great development in the 20th century. They made books available even to the average people, and they also included works that had been previously published in pulp magazines. Thus they paved a new path in the field of book collection. They sold books for lesser prices, and more stores came up with all sorts of books available in there, and moreover, the Paperback Company also set up a market which sold used Paperback books at a very cheap rate. Thus owing libraries became an equally achievable task for the rich as well as the average man.
If the collection of the books is small, and it is to be used only by lesser number of people, the owner can stack it anywhere and in any way that is convenient to him or her. But if the books are a part of the public library, which is used by hundreds of people, there should be a standard catalogue to guide the public, and let them understand easily, about the sections in the library and the books that are available. Mostly they add codes to the books, so that people can easily relate these codes to the catalogue, and find what they are looking for, from among a large collection of books. These codes are called call numbers and they give an idea about where exactly is the book kept, in which shelf, which position etc. this number will be placed on the spine of the book as well as inside it, for easy spotting, and they have the national standards like the ANSI or NISO written along with the code. These standards establish the right way of giving the information, like the author’s name or the book’s title. Mostly in the libraries as well as with the book seller catalogue, they add an abbreviation like the Crown 8vo, to show which is the paper size used to make the book. Such huge libraries will also have bookends, to prevent the rows of books from slanting onto the next, and to assure a well stacked row of books.