Five things I (re)learned during my most recent attempt to organize my library.

Five things I (re)learned during my most recent attempt to organize my library.
Five things I (re)learned during my most recent attempt to organize my library.

1.) I have a tendency to latch onto what should be a very small part of a larger project, and turn it into a project unto itself. Hence, cleaning out the living room (which contained some books) turned into a chance to organize the entire collection.

2.) I may not have a huge personal library, but it is probably too big for the space I’m trying to fit it in. It’s currently hovering comfortably near the 750 book mark. There are a lot of books in there that I probably won’t get around to reading until I’m retired (if that ever happens), but I can’t bear to part with because I’ll read them “someday.” A lot of these are history books, and even though the theory is that history never changes, in fact, it does. We learn more about even ancient civilizations that form a clearer and sometimes very different view of their world. Likewise for recent history, we’re often too close to be objective until further down the road. I should realize this and drop the stuff we don’t need for current research, or things I’m going to re-read in the near future. Of course, good luck convincing myself to do this when it comes to the actual action part of the equation.

3.) I have another tendency, which is to underestimate how long it’s going to take me to do anything. Thus the cataloguing project, which I estimated would take 1-2 days at most instead took the better part of 9 days. This was the bulk of my vacation time, and effectively kept me from doing any of the other myriad projects that were actually on my list to do during this time.

4.) Library of Congress Classification makes perfect sense for some subjects. Computer languages, programming, web & print design, video production and post-production, and some other subjects that breach the boundary between ‘Q’ for science and ‘T’ for technology are not— in my opinion— ones that do. Since a good third of my collection consists of these subjects that seem arbitrarily split between the two classifications, I eventually decided to abandon LCC numbers when necessary to keep my own sanity. Thus, I spent 9 days on a classification project that was at least 1/3 useless— what a waste.

5.) When embarking on a project such as this (which, in hindsight, amounts to polishing brass on the Titanic), I should listen to the common sense reactions of my friends and my wife (if she’ll voice them). I may have a lot of book smarts, as it were, but when it comes to common sense and staying on the course I know in my head to be right, I still need an angel or two on my shoulder.

  1. Wife has voiced oppinions in the past, but because she lacks the necessary tact, often makes hubby mad when doing so, thus bites tongue frequently in order to maintain peace.

  2. Well, that’s just because I’m overly sensitive, and get defensive when someone points out my stupidity. 😛

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