Do you have a library, or do you have a random collection of books filling your shelves? There’s a big difference! A library is intentional and curated. It shows thought in the titles you’ve chosen and can tell your visitors a lot about who you are as a person.
Ready to build your own personal library? Let’s dive in, fellow book lovers!
This may be controversial, but I’m just going to say it anyway: quit buying paperbacks. If you want to read the kind of books that are published as cheap paperbacks, buy the eBook instead. Even the larger, more expensive trade paperbacks have a tendency to end up with cracked spines and simply won’t look as beautiful–or last as long–on the shelf. Whenever you can, buy the books you love in hardcover.
If you can’t swing hardcovers–I get, they’re expensive–look at thrift shops, library book sales, and secondhand stores. Many estate sales will practically give away hardback books. Those sales are also the best places to find bookshelves at a steep bargain.
Actual librarians don’t just keep collecting books. They also get rid of them, too. While it may sound shocking that public and school libraries sometimes discard books, the truth is that it’s an essential part of managing their collections. Books that are out of date or too damaged to keep circulation get removed.
You should do the same thing for your collection. If you have books that are falling apart or have been damaged by spilled liquids, it might be time to toss them out. Unless the book has major sentimental value, it’s probably not worth repairing. It might be more challenging to get rid of books that you don’t really like, old college textbooks, or gifts that you never read.
Donate them to your local library (where they will probably be sold at a book sale) or to a charity shop. Schools and prisons are also often in need of book donations, so think beyond Goodwill!
The way you organize your home library is totally up to you–but you should have some kind of method to your madness. For example, you might separate fiction books and non-fiction in different sections so that you can find what you’re looking for more easily. If you have a large collection, you could divide your shelves up even farther by genre. You can’t go wrong with alphabetizing the books by the author’s last name.
Just don’t arrange your books by color or–gasp!–face all the spines inward like Lauren Conrad once advised. While a filled bookshelf is a thing of beauty, real collectors don’t use their books as decorating props. Your home library should be functional as well as lovely to behold.