Too Many Books?

In my life I have thought that it is impossible to have too many books. However, I believe that I now have too many books.

I have entire swathes of shelves which I have not read in twenty years.

And I have over 16 bookshelves full of books. (Over because the books are starting to perch on the top or beside bookshelves.)

I am trying to decide how to purge. I don’t want to get rid of books I might use to teach or write. But other than that, how do I decide?

The Chronicle’s fora offered this advice:

Whenever I move, I give my books the once-over. Did I like this book? Have I cracked it open in the last five years? Will I ever want to read it/reference it again? If I do need it again, wouldn’t it be easier or cheaper to buy/borrow/loan another copy or hire a grad student to look it up for me, as opposed to carrying it around with me like a turtle’s shell? Do I even REMEMBER reading this book?

If the answer to any of the above is “no”, out it goes.

Do you have a good way to cull books? I could really use some advice here.

3 thoughts on “Too Many Books?”

  1. I have a classroom library for my books. Of course, I have a static classroom in the high school where I teach. But, I wonder if you could have a “borrower’s library” in a place where yourself, colleagues, and students would have access?

    Alternately, one of our retiring teachers left a whole slew of pedagogy and practice books to the staff this year. They are now in the staff lounge. If you had a centralized area, who knows – maybe your colleagues would add their collections to yours for perusal?

  2. Don’t forget paperbackexchange.com You exchange books for credit and then are able to redeem the credits anytime. I post books and leave them for a few months before I donate the books to the library for their annual book sale. Check it out.

  3. Ooh, these are all good ideas. Swaptree.com is another good trading site, and it’s not limited to books.

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