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How has your personal library changed over time?


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We are moving all of our homeschool supplies including books down to our basement family room where my large, wonderful desk and Swimmer Dude's computer desk are. The process of moving books around is a bit on the Herculean side and I decided it was time for many of the books to find a new home. I realized how much my personal library has changed over the years and that it was getting ready to go through another major change.

 

How has your personal library changed over the years? Are you happy with what you have or is "more better?" Or is it time to do some pruning?

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I tend to go in phases with buying books. First I only bought spiritual books, then it was pregnancy books :tongue_smilie:, next scrapbooking ones, then parenting, then how-to homeschooling type ones, now it's Classics and books focussing on self-education.

 

I'm still stuck in the more-is-better camp even though I know that's not necessarily true. I have a very hard time cuddling up in bed with a library book :ack2: so if there's something I want to read, I buy it.

 

I finally have a nice, well-rounded assortment of books, but it's taken many years (and WAY more money than I'd like to admit) to get here. Because I buy most of my books new, I don't see myself purging anything any time soon, even the ones I don't look at anymore.

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We had two big purges. One, when I faced the fact that I was not only never going back to grad school, and ditched all my books on critical theory (I was consoled by Terry Eagleton's declaring the Death of Theory!:D). Fortunately this is a college town and they sold for a good price.

 

The second purge was when dh got a bigger office with lots of shelf space, and took all of his books out of the house so that I could have the entire too-small-to-use-for-anything room as a homeschool book & curriculum room. He made me a list of everything so I can place requests. It's like our personal inter-library loan.

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Ours slowly grew for many years, up till one year ago. Then I decided I couldn't keep moving all the books (just one thousand, which is nothing compared to many here) since we move almost every year, often overseas, without any assistance. So a year ago I sold or donated almost half the books, and this past summer I scanned most of the rest. Now we have a little over 100 physical books and nearly 500 ebooks. The ebook library is what will grow now.

 

My knees thank me. And I can take my books anywhere.

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We've had several major purges, usually associated with major moves. Still... right now we have about 20 bookshelves full, floor to ceiling (I counted 2 half-height shelves as one full). The good news is, I think that's down about 6 bays from several years ago.

 

I finally got rid of lots of old paperbacks, even though I do reread books. All the years worth of mysteries, romance novels, whatever... it all has been given away.

 

We have kept mostly non-fiction, reference, hardcover fiction, and fiction books that we love that are old and out of print. Plus school books. I like having easy reference to old favorites, and we all seem to have some subject we like. I tend to have lots of history--ancient, Vikings, and English history are favorites. My dh has quite a collection (2 bays) on world mythology.

 

In theory, less is definately better. We still always need to devote one full room in our house to a library--the one we have now is cool. It has IKEA Billy shelves all around the room (13 thus far, we need 2 more), plus a little "island" of four low shelves arranged in a square in the middle of the room. My dh's desk is there, plus the board game closet. The rest of the books are in the school room or in our bedrooms.

 

OK, it may seem somewhat unlikely, but I have come to believe that less is more. I did one whole year of "book fasting", didn't buy a book for 12 months, and that helped break the cycle. I got a Kindle when the 2nd edition came out, and now I try to buy what I can on that. I love having virtual access to books... and I don't feel like I have to keep every single classic on hand just in case. I've only got a few hundred on my Kindle, so lots of room until it fills up. Still, for birthdays, Christmas, etc, it is not unusual for each family member to receive several new books.

 

Oh yes, plus 50,000 or so comic books in the garage. But that's my dh's problem.:glare:

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My library has evolved over the years. Mass purges occur in conjunction with moves. I used to buy and maintain a large number of paperback books. Now I borrow new books from the library. If I borrow the same book several times, I consider purchasing. I also buy books that may be of interest but that my library does not have. These books are often donated after I read them. I am finding that I buy little adult fiction.

 

The children's and homeschooling collections continue to grow. Small purges occur here and there. I do not expect massive purges until the children are older.

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I was good and got rid of over 150 books when we moved recently. That doesn't count the 20 or more I brought in during that time. My last count was over 1500, not a huge amount.

 

Years ago my dh and I read a lot of self-help books. I pruned a lot of those, some I want ds to read in the future. I used to read a lot of non-fiction, but have turned back to fiction in recent years.

 

Most of my books are related to school (growing list thanks to some of you :D), books on writing, books on things that interest me, and classics that are OUP or hard to find. I also have a small collection of antique books which I add to periodically.

 

We seriously don't plan on moving again for a long while so it's just a matter of figuring out where to put them all in the new house. We had a wall of built in shelves in our previous house, this one doesn't.

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My personal library has gone from about five hundred to about twenty books. I donated the others over time. I just don't feel the need to own every book I read anymore. :) I keep only my absolute favorites now or books that were signed or gifted to me. We're lucky to have a fantastic library system in CT so I don't feel I'm missing anything.

Edited by Mejane
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