I don’t know how many books are in my library. I know I have many.
Once there was a man who was doing community service at our church, but he couldn’t really do anything because of physical problems. So, I gave him a legal pad and a pen and told him to write down every title in my library. He did that for three whole days and didn’t finish, but he did get his legally required hours filled.
I spent the better part of the morning finally organizing my shelves by category. I don’t really organize by author, because several authors write different kinds of books. For example, C. S. Lewis has some books classified as apologetics while others I would classify as theology, and then there is Surprised by Joy, which is an autobiography.
Before we moved into the new office suites, my library was somewhat organized, but never perfectly. When I brought all my books over, I mostly just threw them up on the shelves indiscriminately. That was a mistake. They have been disheveled ever since; out of order, and not in any usable arrangement. I fixed that this morning. As I did so, I discovered:
- I have two copies of several books. Among them are The Imitation of Christ, Prayer by Richard Foster, and The Master Plan of Evangelism. Why? I do not remember buying multiple copies of these books. Did someone sneak into my study and put them there? (Note, I have three copies of Macbeth, however, I did buy each one of them!)
- For some reason I have a copy of the Audubon Society’s Field Guide to Fossils. It is very handsome book, but practically useless to me. Again, I have no memory of ever purchasing that book or even that someone gave it to me.
- One of my shelves is broken. It fell three times, each time just as I had finished stacking the books perfectly and neatly on it. Three different times I restacked them, reorganized then, and then put them on the shelf again. Only after the third time was did i prove myself smart enough to stop, use my pocketknife, and make an ‘adjustment.’
- Over the last couple of years my biography section has swollen considerably. I like that about my library.
I also accomplished two important tasks. One, by the time I was finished, all the books were off the floor. In the past year I’d gotten into the nasty habit of just stacking books on the floor at the foot of the bookshelf they should be in if there were room. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the study at home, where many, many books are stacked on the floor. Second, I threw away tons of old magazines that dated back to the 1990’s as well as a great number of used deacon workbooks and administrative folders from years gone by.
My library is nice and organized; for now. But I feel a new book order coming on.