Each librarian must determine the category or categories under which the books they have added to the collection should be catalogued. This is a challenge, since The Interstitial Library specializes in the uncategorizeable. We offer the following guidelines:
For those books that fall between two or more clearly defined genres or subject headings, it is permissible to define a category as a string of terms. For example, we might class Madame Bovary and Dress For Success under the heading of Clothing & Desire. We might class books on taxidermy, poisoning, euthanasia, cremation, Egyptian mummies and autopsies with The Tibetan Book of the Dead under the heading of How-To & Death.
Personal and idiosyncratic categories are encouraged. The catalogue derives its form from the private associative webs of numerous individual readers.
Categories should indicate the most interesting feature of the book, even if this has nothing to do with its ostensible subject matter. E.g. a book containing a thriving community of woodworms might be classed under Fauna (Living), while one containing a collection of dried four-leafed-clovers might be classed under Flora (Dead) or perhaps Good Luck.
One-of-a-kind books should be indicated as such.
Of course, a book may fall into numerous (even infinite) categories. The category you define does not have to describe all aspects of the book under consideration. Instead, it should draw forth the feature for which you personally consider the book particularly notable. For example, one might include under the category of Noses books on rhinoplasty, but also Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, a novel, and Cyrano de Bergerac, a play.
Neologisms are permitted in subject headings, providing a definition is given.
Categories may embrace many books, a single book, or none—e.g. the category of "Books never written." A special subcategory of our important collection of Nonexistent Books is Books That Do Not Yet Exist. The Interstitial Library is an archive, not just of the past, but of the future. Moreover, it aspires to shape that future by calling forth the books that are needed to fill out its collection.
Headings need not be one-liners. Sometimes, to adequately describe the category into which a book falls, it may be necessary to write several sentences. In extraordinary cases, it may be necessary to write an entire book. In this case, of course, one will also have to describe the category into which the category falls, which may also entail writing a book, and so on. When this happens, a brief description of the situation and the infinity symbol will suffice to indicate that another infinite library has opened up within The Interstitial Library.
Books that from a long way off resemble flies;
Those from which one page, the only important one, has been torn out;
Those in which love letters have been folded;
Those that smell of your father’s feet;
Those that hurt your eyes;
Those that nobody has ever read;
Those that have just been burned, and hang as smoke in the air;
Those that are too small to see;
Those that are too heavy to lift;
Those containing a single blond hair in the gutter between page 161 and 162;
Those the right size to prop up the wobbly table;
Those that have not been opened in fifty years;
Those written in imaginary languages;
Those whose centers have been sawed out to hide jewels, heroin or money;
Those that have killed;
Those whose marginalia are more interesting than their text;
Those that when closed say something different than when open;
Those written only in words that can be taught to a Labrador Retriever of average intelligence;
Those stained by the blood of famous men;
Those stained by notable meals;
Those stained in love;
Those that have been chewed by children or dogs;
Those in which living creatures dwell;
Those that have stopped a bullet headed for the heart;
Those that have not yet been written;
Those that will never be written;
Those that have been written, and destroyed by the author;
Those entirely comprised of the blank spaces in other books;
Those devoted to describing those books;
Those devoted to describing this catalogue.