How do you organize your personal library? And which volumes do you consider foundational?
I organize my books by size so that it's the most esthetically pleasing. I considered alphabetizing (as I have done my dvds) but I get so much pleasure from browsing through my collection whenever I need to find something.
I organize them by areas like a library or book store. There is a romance section, psychology and philosophy, and then school books. So romance has alphabatized subtopics. Then school books are organized by semesters and years taken. The psychology and philosophy area are organized by age and personal reference.
If I had as much shelf space as I need, I'd have my books organized by subject. As it is, coffee table-size books anchor the bottom shelf of the one-and-only book case. The next shelf up holds genealogy reference books. Above that is part of what I call "Jama's British Library" - hardback books about its kings and queens and other "royal" figures. Above that are travel guides having to do with England. Paperbacks are stored here and there in large baskets, by size not subject. Everything else is stacked on a closet shelf and in under-the-bed boxes. Every now and then I weed out anything I'm not particularly fond of and donate them to Goodwill.
I'm with JamaGenee on this one, if I had the bookshelf space that I need, everything would be organized by subject and alphabetically within that subject. Most of my books are large since the majority of them are medical textbooks. My metaphysical collection takes up three bookshelves alone. I really need more shelf space.
Years ago I worked for some architects who showed me how to manage an ISBN system - organizing books by subject matter, like they do in libraries, with very detailed sub-divisions. With a small amount of poetic licence, that's how I have tried to organize my own books, with notable exceptions.
In my bedroom I have two whole shelves containing books I have the firm intention of reading quite soon - very mixed subject matter! Then a few shelves of reference books, as I work on the computer in that room, and some non-fiction like psychology, sociology and philosophy. And a whole bookcase on true crime and forensic science.
In my hall I have a book case of poetry and drama, language learning (I've had a dab at the languages of almost every country I have visited), and my overflow of fiction paperbacks.
In my lounge I have hobbies - lots of books (many of these are oversized) on gardening, arts and crafts , cookery and lots more novels. I have a top shelf for leatherbound decorative antiquarian books, which I love to see, but don't actually read these days.
In my kitchen - just a few of the recipe books I am most likely to use.
Having run out of space, I then have numerous boxes of books, all containing just one subject type, such as politics, military and spies, science fiction, technical, business, and so forth, all duly labelled so that I can put my hands on them easily. The cardboard boxes are covered with a nice throw, so that they look less hideous, or piled up in my cupboard under the stairs.
I'm a real magpie when it comes to books. I don't have anything especially "foundational" as you put it, but maybe reference books on computer or language subjects and a few classics and prize-winning novels,
Mine are organized by genre, then by author and finally within the author, by publishing date. It works for me.
I live in a small house, too small for my books. Some are in bins in the cellar, the recent ones I have purchased I keep on a separate shelf so that I know where to look for them. I started keeping diaries at age eleven. My childhood ones are in a bin. Recent ones, from 1992 on, are neatly lined up on one shelf by year. But the JOURNALS! That is the real problem. I have Vacation Journals, Writing Ideas Journals, "Things I Must Never Forget" Journals, and it goes on and on.
My husband thinks I should get ride of everything and start over. I think it would be too traumatic for me.
My library (small writing room) is also filled with numerous notes of writing ideas.
I am slowly going through them...these are the ones I will start over probably.
I also have in a bin everything I have published in magazines in the past.
I will consider myself organized when I know where everything is when I need something. Blessings, Sparklea
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