the personal library (get thee organized)

“Beware the person of one book” ~Latin proverb

Charles H. Spurgeon’s personal library (19th century)

As I figure it, if you own a book, and you put that book somewhere in your house (or even your car), then you have a personal library. Of course, some libraries are bigger and some are better than others, for any number of reasons. I have been to homes, even homes with kids, that appeared to have no books in them, not a one. Maybe they were hidden. Maybe the family felt they should keep them out of sight in case someone might think they were intellectuals (oops, no chance there). Maybe books are just messy things and I didn’t know. Those families tend to emphasize sports or video games anyway.

I love books. I probably check out over 1,000 books from the public library every year just to keep my costs down. And then, of course, I buy books. I have always been this way. As a child I hoarded the family’s books in my room. My philosophy is that if one is deciding between buying new clothes or old books, buy the books. Maybe I’ve got problems. hhmmm

I am curious about great personal libraries. I know of one guy who has thousands of books. In order to keep track of his mass of books he has implemented a cataloging database that tracks all his books, indexes them, cross-references them, and makes it all quickly searchable. I wonder if he did all the database entries himself.

We only have hundreds of books. We are thinking of putting a bunch of books in storage just to get organized. I need to get our books organized. Maybe I should try LibraryThing. Looks promising.

Or I could build a nice new little library room, complete with a dog.

I or maybe not like that.

Of course any advice is welcome. There are tips on-line if you can’t figure out how to organize your books on your own.


I think one’s personal library says a lot about oneself. A messy library is like a messy desk, a sign of a very creative and possibly brilliant person who would rather just stack books right where they are rather than re-shelve them. Just my opinion. The kinds of books one has obviously says a lot too. Some prefer non-fiction over fiction, some philosophy over car repair. Our library says we like art, history, philosophy, gardening, classic novels, poetry, and lots more. But it takes a while to find any particular book because we are not organized. Getting organized is one of our next projects. And then we will really enjoy our personal library.

Don’t you all wish everyone had their own personal library and could enjoy it in their own special way?

Now that’s livin’! And look how organized is his library!

I used to need somebody
To sit and read to me.
I’d look at every page they read
And listen carefully.
But now that I am in first grade,
I’m filling up a shelf
With stories, poems, and other books
That I can read myself.

Great kid, but don’t forget to organize your books.

4 thoughts on “the personal library (get thee organized)

  1. >we are getting the opportunity to reorganize our book spaces and i’ve wondered just what the best way to do it would be…i haven’t figured it out yet.

  2. >Meg, when you find the answer let me know. I fear that the only way to really organize our library is to completely catalog it in a database and then shelve them according to the catalog. I don’t really want to get that involved. Or, I should say, I don’t really want to the do the work.

  3. I’ve often wished I had Rex Harrison’s library in My Fair Lady, but they need regular dusting. 🤭 On my way to work, I’d take a book with me to read on the bus and if I was two thirds of the way through, I would carry a second book for on the way home. So pleased when electronic books came along. I carry a library with me, wherever I go.

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