Summer is a great time to lighten up your overgrown library in order to cultivate the quality of your collection. Having a lot of books doesn’t automatically mean you have a great library!
Do your shelves truly reflect the current and reasonable anticipated needs, priorities, and passions of your family? How can you glorify God in your home library? Where do you begin?
On your knees.
Have honest dealings with your heart. Confess the greed and idolatry, the seeking of security in temporal excess rather than being content and trusting God to provide. Ask Him to give you success and to show you what you have been hoarding and don’t genuinely need.
Here are a few questions I ask myself:
- Why should I keep this? “Because it was free (or $0.25),” is not a sufficient answer. “Because I paid good money for it,” is not adequate either. If you don’t have space for it and can’t honestly justify it in your collection, let it go!
- How often do I use it?
- Have I read it? Will I really read it again?
- Is it beautiful? Books ought to be beautiful, if at all possible. Books that are attractive will appeal to readers. (There are a few “ugly” exceptions, library-sale treasures that are out of print but still have genuine value.)
- Do I have duplicates or comparable items?
- Is it falling apart? If it is worth keeping, consider replacing it or having it repaired or rebound. You can often improve the durability of picture books by covering the dust jackets.
- Can I find a replacement if I need it later at a library or used bookstore?
- Do I have space for it? (If not, return to question #1.)
- Is there someone else I can bless with it?
Keep praying for wisdom throughout the process!
Be realistic about your limitations. Try removing everything from one shelf or one bookcase. After dusting the shelves, prioritize which items are most important and put them back without crowding. How essential are the remaining items?
As God by His grace deals with me, both my heart and my bookshelves are gradually becoming unburdened as I gradually learn to reflect His image of orderliness in this corner of His universe that He has entrusted to me.