The Booking Through Thursday for today is:
We’re moving in a couple weeks (the first time since I was 9 years old), and I’ve been going through my library of 3000+ books, choosing the books that I could bear to part with and NOT have to pack to move. Which made me wonder…
When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain?
Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all? (This would have described me for most of my life, by the way.)
And–when you DO weed out books from your collection (assuming that you do) …what do you do with them? Throw them away (gasp)? Donate them to a charity or used bookstore? SELL them to a used bookstore? Trade them on Paperback Book Swap or some other exchange program?
I “weed it” every now and then, but not systematically — just whenever the excess stacked in double rows on shelves starts to bug me…like it is now. We just don’t have room for any more bookcases, and I hate the thought of putting them in the attic where bugs or humidity or temperature extremes might damage them, though I do have a few boxes of children’s books up there that I hope stay in good condition for grandchildren. I love the idea of reading them the same books I read to my kids. But otherwise I’d much rather someone got some use out of them now rather than have them stuffed in the attic for years and then rotting.
When I do give them away, first I consider whether anyone I know would want any of them, then whether my son’s school library could use them. I’ve given some away via blog giveaways, but most of the time my giveaways aren’t books I’m trying to get rid of: they’re books I bought extra copies of because I liked them so much I want others to enjoy them, too. But most go to a charity like Salvation Army. My mom used to live near a store that would let you trade in used books for store credit, but I don’t know if we have any bookstores that do that here — the only bookstore I am aware of is Barnes and Noble, and I am sure they don’t! I haven’t checked out online book swaps. I just don’t want to mess with listing them and then packaging and sending them, though I might think about that if I have a book for a particular audience that I think might languish away at a charity store.
A related question would be how one decides what books to get rid of. That is a very hard task. Some books are almost like dear friends that I have shared special times with: there’s something wistful or nostalgic about keeping them. Plus if I think I might use it again, it will cost more to buy it later, so it is more economical to keep it. But when “weeding” I try to ask myself these questions:
1. Am I ever realistically going to read this again?
2. Do I honestly think I’ll ever refer to it again?
3. Do I seriously think my children might want it some day?
4. Could someone else get more use out of it than it is getting just sitting here on my shelf?
It’s still not easy to part with them, but that last questions especially helps.