Sorting Out My Home Library

I came back to my hometown a bit over a week ago with books and movies bought in Indonesia. Should I mention that my bookshelves are almost full? So now with the new books, films and music I need to make a space for them. Especially for the books.

It’s very hard for me to throw away books. Firstly, I hate that idea, it’s  just disgusting for me. Secondly, the books I’d throw away are either outdated handbooks (for example about web design) or one-or-two volumes of few-volumes comics (not always from the beginning). I can’t give them out to a library. Any suggestions how should I declutter my books? My only idea is to store them away in the summerhouse, hoping I’ll read/use them when I’m bored there.

The other challenge is arranging the books. I have two bookcases, but the shelves are of different heights and some are not suitable for anything higher than A5 size. So irritating, because most of my books/magazines/ring binders etc. are high! This means I can’t make one bookcase just for learning foreign languages, as I’d like to. Messy, isn’t it? 

So, arranging the bookcases by the subject is not possible but it’s still possible to arrange the individual shelves by the subject. This creates another problem – how to sort them. I have many books about various countries. For example Liza Dalby’s “The Tale of Murasaki” or a fiction book about ancient China written by a French author. How should I sort them? Is it Japanese and Chinese literature, or maybe USA or French literature based on the author’s nationality? Should I sort the fiction books based on the language (original or translated?) – I have the same book – Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz – in Polish (original) and Indonesian or maybe by the author’s nationality, genre or some other criterion?  I’m confused so please help me and tell me how do you sort out your books? 

I was reading about library classification systems to help me sort the books (especially non-fiction). Some libraries use the Library of Congress classification or Dewey Decimal Classification. I’m not a fan of USA, moreover I’m European so I see no reason to use USA-made and USA-centric classification. The only European classification that is (widely) used is Universal Decimal Classification. Originally it was based on the Dewey Decimal Classification, but it’s different system. It’s still used in Poland, especially in the National Library. It has some flaws, like the structural limitation to 10 categories which is not sufficient in the modern world. It means that NONE of the library classifications is good to use. A shame. I don’t understand how the libraries in the world can operate like that nowadays. 

In the same time I’m making a list of my books. I couldn’t find a good “organize your home library” software yet, so I’m making my own list in a LibreOffice spreadsheet. I’m making a list with records like translated and original title, languages, translator’s name along the usual ISBN, publishers, dates and series. Later I’ll make a Pivot table from it. Do you keep a list of your books? If yes, how do you do it?

When I started organising my home library, I didn’t think it would be so difficult. Wish me luck… and share your tips with me. 😉



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