I recall the library in Wapakoneta Ohio as a kid, it was wonderful with lots of books and a librarian who would help you find something if you simply couldn’t find it. I remember the smell, the quiet peace, the card catalogs I loved so much, the wonder of books. The pleasures of a library can get deep into your mind and stay with you for life.
My collection started with books given to me as a child, or books chosen from bookstores or book order forms sent home from school. The books multiplied and my mom humored me and gave me a book case in a closet, and I could spend hours re-arranging my own little library (complete with hand made library cards I made from yellow paper). It has been a life long passion and my kids grew up in a house that was as much library as home with over 6,000 volumes to date.
The many books in this collection are separated into groupings. History and theology books get shelved next to each other, the genetics, animal breeding, training and judging books in another section, a section of music, another for sewing, gardening, architecture, cooking, how to and other similar creative pursuits, and also the fiction section with the mysteries, animal stories, fine literature and poetry all separated out. Each book was a pleasure to purchase, a joy to read, perhaps studied, and finally added it to the collection.
Occasionally purges are needed in any good library. Fiction that lacked qualities that made it worth re-reading could go. Books that no longer serve their function as references due to acquisitions of some better references for the same subject were given away. Some categories simply didn’t need to be so well represented and so could be slimmed down and so the extras went on to new homes where they might be better needed.
Furniture has been sold or given away because in a move, there is only so much that can travel with you. How do you choose? Large furniture takes up a lot of space that books and book cases can fill– for me, a single chair is enough, couches and beds can be replaced at the other end of the move, but the books are often old friends with whom I am loath to part.
This collection is about pleasure, information, growth, learning and me. There are no volumes of high value, no special collectable books. This is a library of a reader, scholar, and writer.
Alas, not every person has space or desire for a personal library but many still love a good public or university library. There is a joy to the small public libraries in little towns and for me an almost heady intoxication to be had from the bountiful information stored in the books of the large libraries of colleges and universities. I am certain I am not alone in this love. Here is another lover of the good public library: House Unseen Life Unscripted: Michigan Monday Library.
Anyone else out there with a deep love of books?