Home Library Management: Analyze the Situation

home library management: analyze the situation
Home Library Management is a mini-series based on a presentation I originally gave to a homeschool group when I was a professional librarian years ago. These are updated thoughts based on my current experience as a home librarian surrounded by five boys and lots of books. I’d love to hear your thoughts as we walk through the library organization process from start to finish.

Analyzing the Situation

We book lovers have a tendency to accumulate vast quantities of “someday-I-might,” “I’ve-always-wanted-to,” and ”I-just-found-out-about-this” in addition to the “essential-must-have” books to read.

You may not have time to read all those books in the next thirty years, though you hope SOMEONE in the family will. When you find yourself hunting in multiple locations for the sundry volumes you have collected on American history and you gather up duplicate copies (some battered, others in more appealing condition), and you KNOW you lent other titles to a fellow homeschooler or biblioholic two years ago, it is time to organize.

The Reason for Organizing

Your books are of no use if you are the only one who knows WHAT you own and WHERE to find it. But you should not have to take a cataloging class and affix your spines with classification labels in order to organize. Nor should you feel obligated to lose the wonderful pleasure of spontaneity that allows you and other family members to make stacks at the bedside according to whim.

Organizing does mean that can be worthwhile to group books by author, and that you should not have to waste time wandering to find the titles you have gathered over the years and scattered through bookshelves around the house.

Your second mission

Your previous home library organization mission was to gather all the books from ONE category into ONE place. Now, using that limited category of your home library as a starting point, it’s time to analyze.

You must have space for your books. Shelves or boxes, your goal is to know the content and purpose for your collection. Have you accumulated beyond your management and storage capability? Has your focus changed? The ages, interests, and needs of your children/family? What are your present and anticipated requirements for your library? As you approach your shelves to organize them, evaluate each book with the following questions:

  • Why did you buy this book?
  • Has it served its purpose?
  • Will you need it again?
  • How easily could you access a copy?
  • Is there a better book on the subject?
  • Is there someone else who needs this?
  • Do I have enough room to store it?

It is better to develop a high quality, functional, focused collection, rather than have lots of books that are of little use. Spend your organizing time and energy on the best of what you have.

Next time we will tackle the thorny problem of “weeding” the collection. If you aren’t sure whether you are brave enough to weed books out this week, use the questions above to get mentally prepared.

Read the series thus far:

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Stay Up to Date!

Get the information you need to make wise choices about books for your children and teens.

Our weekly newsletter includes our latest reviews, related links from around the web, a featured book list, book trivia, and more. We never sell your information. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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Megan Saben

Megan is Associate Editor for Redeemed Reader, and she loves nothing more than discovering Truth and Story in literature. She is the author of Something Better Coming, and is quite particular about which pottery mug is best suited to her favorite hot drinks throughout the day. Megan lives with her husband and five boys in Virginia.

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2 Comments

  1. Gina on September 12, 2022 at 12:09 pm

    I love this series! Can’t wait for the next part. I have a huge book collection which is rather well organized but my shelves are bulging.
    Gina

    • Megan Saben on September 13, 2022 at 10:02 am

      Gina, thank you! I’m SO glad to hear that you’re enjoying the series. I’m waiting for one more piece to fall into place before posting the next installment, and then I have another after that. 🙂 Blessings on your endeavors!

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