Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dream Home 2.0: The Library

Hackito Ergo Sum: The Library Problem: "In March of 2006 my wife Mary and I owned about 3,500 books. We both have eclectic interests, voracious appetites for knowledge, and a great love of used bookstores. The problem was that we had no idea what books we had or where any of them were."

That ain't nothing, we've got 6000+ books, at least that was where I stopped counting, but it is less then 7000 books. Right now they are mostly in storage except for the 600 or so essential ones. Except for about half a books books we are currently working on at least one of us has read each book. And that doesn't even count all the books we've borrowed from the library. One of the downsides of having above average reading speeds is that we go through books very quickly and they then to pile up.

You know you have a lot of books when you are triple stacking paperbacks with books underneath to allow you to see that there are more there. 2x4s or something might have been better but this was something to do with the not of good books.

That family has worked really hard to organize their books and that is great. We have a different way. We just needed something simple to make the books reasonably easy to find. So we just kept them in broad categories in particular places:

Office: The work related books.
• Engineering
• Science
• Personal Development
• Business Development
• General Reference

Kitchen: Except for the Alton Brown books we haven't read these cover to cover but they are fun to peruse for ideas.
• Cookbooks
• Entertaining
• Nutrition
• Medical
• Gardening

• Science Fiction and fantasy series by author. This is the bulk of our collection and easiest to hold together.
• Historical fiction.
• Other novels by author.
• Religion
• Classics
• Humor
• &etc.

The media room has all the video and audio products and our daughter had all of her books in a bookshelf in her room. We also had a shelf for oversized books, mostly Art in the living room.

Are all of these good or great books, no but since we have prescreened a large number of them they are generally better then average books. We've had friends comment, "I love coming to your home it's like going to my favorite bookstore." Lending books is just fine a simple checkout sheet taped to the side of one of the bookcases worked for us, if it was leaving the house with a friend.

We haven't had much trouble with duplicates either, but then we buy most of our books online now even if we find something nice at the store or library. It's just cheaper.

We are now in a much smaller place so we are beginning a purge of the not so good books. The hard part here is deciding what isn't worthy to stay. We'll want to remember what we got rid of so we'll be using Delicious Library to hold that stuff, so we don't buy it again later unless we mean it.

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