One year ago today I wrote my first post on Substack and what a ride it’s been. To mark this anniversary I am offering a special discount to those of you who would like to upgrade to a paid subscription. In fact, today is the last day you can do so. Just click the red button
Although I am a little late coming to this piece, I no longer feel as bad about my book habit and it's storage.
My interest runs mostly to American history from the original settlement up to about the War of 1812, with a very large section on Jefferson. Except for the fact that he enslaved fellow humans, I have always been fascinated by his interest in numerous subject. In the vein, I have a lot of books on other periods and areas of history (European general, Eastern European, Irish). In fact, when I was on a cruise which stopped in Ireland last May, I picked up two books on Irish history as souvenirs when we were in the area of Blarney Castle. I also have books on other subjects such as philosophy, psychology and things I don't remember I have.
I too have bought books without realizing I already had them, but have since tried to cut down a bit on my buying since I have more books to read that I may have time left on this earth, being that I turn 69 this year. I do have a Kindle with about 24 books on it, but I prefer actually holding a physical book. And I still get home delivery (only four days a week) of our daily newspaper here in Cleveland (OH).
Re: Clint Smith https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2023/03/01/newsmaker-clint-smith/
When I began writing my first book in 2008, I hired a talented young man to catalog my books according to the Dewey Decimal System - largely because I kept buying books that I knew I owned but couldn’t find in my library. My collection is largely military history - emphasis on Civil War, Spanish-American War, and Pacific Theater of WWII - with literature and poetry, too. The physical cataloguing of them is done like Jefferson’s Library in the Library of Congress - on bookmarks inscribed with title and author and DD#. It has saved me lots of money!
It’s always fascinating to me to hear how others organize their books.
My husband owned his own bookstore years ago, resulting in his accumulation of hundreds and hundreds of books. He mostly collected books about politics, history, religion, and sociology. My personal collection is mostly American History with the Civil War being heavily represented, Lincoln related books, and biographies.
We have bookcases in every room of our house. We did have two 5x10 storage units full of boxed books. We finally sold most of them to a used bookstore, and are now down to one storage unit with less than half its space used by boxed books.
Thank you. I need to do the same. This gives me some good Ideas.
From March 3, 2023 Washington Post. Gifted. https://wapo.st/3LeZWuL
I Have a large library myself. I started with the Civil War. Generally it is arranged by topic. Over the years I’ve branched out into other military topics. Such as the American Revolution and the War of 1812. I’m pretty selective on what I buy now. My history hobby dates back more than 50 years. I still enjoy as much as when I started. At some point I will probably have to downsize. For now it is manageable.
Have mercy - how I love your library! :-)
I’m afraid to count my books, but before we moved from NC, where I had bookshelves in every room, I weeded and down sized and sold and donated. Now in FL, with almost no bookshelves, I’ve donated to the county library bookstore, the only bookstore in the county and a great system. Took them two boxes of murder mysteries this past week.
As a retired school librarian I highly approve of your system. <3 School and public libraries still use the Dewey system, for the most part, and it’s what I’ve used the most - it outlines a progression of knowledge that makes sense to me. I’ve also used the Library of Congress Classification system when I’ve worked at academic and special libraries. LCC works best for collections that are narrow and deep; corresponding Dewey numbers would have to wrap around the spine and halfway across the cover! ;-)
And no, I don’t process my books with spine labels :-D You may recall Jefferson organized his by size. But I do recommend writing the date of purchase and name somewhere in the book.
I actually have two "libraries." My math library has been culled down to one 6' x 3' bookshelf in our basement. It is totally unorganized.
My Civil War library is more organized, but still chaotic enough that I have bought second copies of books I forgot I had, twice within the last year. Dave Powell suggested using the online program LibraryThing, and I started using it in 2013. At that time I organized things spatially on the shelves by topic---Union bios, CS bios, Eastern theatre, Western theatre, etc.---but my office is so cramped that chaos continued to reign. We are hoping to get our son's room cleared out enough for it to become at least a partial office for me.
I find e-books to be easier to deal with, in many ways, although I share your goal of being "unplugged" some. I have a large library on my Nook tablet, mostly "comfort reading," plus general-purpose science, modern politics, "other history," and so forth.
Which Borders? If it was before 1995, we may have crossed paths.