Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Attacking the Library

I need a plan for this sea of books my room has become. Earlier in the week I went around the house pulling out books that had been squirreled away and were certainly not being read. But it is quite clear there are way too many books for the existing shelf space. I badly need a plan for this project before it spirals out of control.

The real question (much as with wardrobe pruning) boils down to “What do you really need access to? What are you likely to want to pull off the shelf in the next 5 years?”

I can venture to say it will likely not be Calculus and Analytic Geometry or Playtraining Your Puppy (which may never again happen) or Bible Stories for Jewish Children (it’s too late for my children and too early for grandchildren) or Spock’s Baby and Child Care. So if they come off the shelf, do they get donated somewhere, land in the trash can, or get boxed up and put in the attic?

Then on to novels, the most numerous of the many books. Do you keep the ones you read and liked or move them on to someone else to read and like?

What about travel books? Do you keep Europe from $70 a Day now that it’s at least $100? Most travel books are dated the month after they are published. My guess is we will probably buy a new travel guide for any upcoming trip.

We have a considerable number of books on sex which I have never read including, a set of 6 CD’s entitled “Enlightened Sex.” Do you suppose it is not too late to become enlightened?

I came across 5 books borrowed from 5 different people. Some I’ve read. Some I’ve yet to read. Do I sheepishly offer them back to those who loaned them or just assume they have forgotten about them and/or don’t have room on their bookshelves for them either?

I’m really interested in doing this right this time, instead of taking the Band-aid approach I have always used that manages to get rid of just enough to accommodate what won’t fit otherwise.

This project should keep me occupied for the next day or two. I can’t wait to see the result!


Blogger Kristin said...

I just took a break from browsing through Amazon to read this. Fitting.

I keep my travel books as souvenirs, of sorts. Reference books I'll reference again. Novels that I read and enjoyed and may read again (but only if they're "respectable"). I give them to friends, my brother, and Nana (a friend's grandmother), on occasion.

Everything else, I give away. And I always return books. My brother tends to give away the ones I've lent him, even if I haven't read them yet. Drives me nuts.

8:01 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Ok- first of all it is NEVER too late to become enlightened...unless you're just too tired. :)

I have joined Paperspine.com for my reading now. It's like netflix for books. You get a couple, return them and get a couple more. I love it. If there are a couple that I think I absolutely MUST keep I just go out and buy those..also try Abebooks.com for cheap books to purchase.
And, yes, ditch the calculus and Dr. Spock.
And, returning the books would be nice (even if they did forget)

8:07 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

I say you need to bring in steve (shadows and light) for a consult....I'm hopeless and not the person to ask about getting rid of books (although I have been known to bag up books and take them in to a donation site of some sort) every room in our house is overflowing with books (and I swear I hardly buy books anymore, I swear, I swear)

instead of being bothered by their presence, I find our books are like being surrounded by friends, wisdom, entertainment, and memory. I doubt I will read our 1964 edition of modern introductory analysis (f's h.s. mathematics text) - but when I pull it out and gaze at it's lovely illustration of venn diagrams I feel comforted in some bizarre way.

good luck!

12:23 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

I have a ton of books, especially quilting books and magazines. I have started to go through and dump books that I don't absolutely _love_.

One way to get rid of books is to find a bookcrossing zone where you can leave your books for others to find and enjoy (at www.bookcrossing.com), but be careful, you might find it easy to take some books that others have left!

It might be that at the next family gathering you could do what my mom does. She spreads out all the books she has and you can't leave without a market bagful!

By the way, I just read a really great book...


12:31 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- You would almost have to have a good system with the number of books you read each year. I guess you need to loan only books you've already read to your brother!

Gewels -- You are always so current with things like Paperspine! It makes so much sense to have a mailable lending library with no overdue fines. I will definitely look into this.

Mouse -- I can imagine Steve's library is totally organized and pruned to only the essentials. I found a lot of books dating back to the late 60's, but most of them had so much dust on top they made me sneeze. They are mostly in the give-away pile.

Kelly -- You've inspired me to organize a neighborhood book exchange since I don't have much family left in this world!

3:57 PM  

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