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You are watching: How many books in a library


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How would you define your personal library in just a few words? as soon as I make this concern to eight avid readers, consisting of two authors, a book buyer, and also a librarian, this were several of their answers:

Time capsule.

A have fun of that I am as a person and author.


Eclectic, messy, approachable—just favor me.

Truly, for every one of us bookworms, a an individual library is more than a room, a collection, or something pretty to look at—it’s the heart of our homes.

And our books—with the exemption of ebooks and also audiobooks—are tangible objects that deserve a thoughtful space of their own. So just how do we make sure we’ve produced a personal library that keeps our publications safe and also somewhat orderly? much more importantly, how do we develop a place where we can spend hrs discovering and dreaming? because that inspiration, i asked each of this eight readers to share your thoughts top top building, organizing, and making the many of a an individual library.

How To construct a an individual Library: The Space

Not surprisingly, everyone’s personal library watch a tiny different. For countless of these readers, publications don’t all live with each other in a single place. “They’re spread out throughout my house which is precisely how I choose it,” author and freelance writer Alex Temblador (Secrets that the Casa Rosada) told me in an email. Likewise, Lori Feathers, co-owner and book the person who lives of indie bookshop Interabang Books, wrote, “My an individual library space is every nook, cranny and easily accessible surface of our 1350 square foot home, consisting of stacks on the floor in ours study.”

That said, even readers whose publications are scattered in multiple places still have actually a far-reaching part that their repertoire intentionally placed on bookshelves. Guest of Seattle-based reader Meera George room greeted by a select group of publications on cube-shaped shelves in her entry way.

Romeo Rosales, Collections and Acquisitions Librarian and also fellow book Riot contributor, uses several rooms “to check out books and stack books and hoard books,” however splurged a few years back on a bookshelf that’s currently “tucked right into a corner of our life room and also has six shelves that room jam-packed with books from every genres and styles.”


Librarian Romeo Rosales and also his wife worked hard to conserve for and purchase this bookshelf for their personal library.


Other readers have actually designated a single space in their dwellings for their libraries. Tokyo-based reader Debbie Rowland, that is preparing to relocate to Dallas, is progressively sending all of her publications to a room in she mother’s Dallas-area home. “A couple of years ago, I decided to gather the shelves of publications that were scattered over five rooms in the residence into one room and make that the library ns had constantly dreamed of having.”

Author David Langlinais (Duck Thief and Other Stories, What happened to every the Dogs? and also Other Stories) called me his library is likewise the writing room where he works, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling shelves.


Author David Langlinais functions in a leather chair with footrest in his an individual library, i m sorry doubles as his home office.


When reader Cindy Gordon remodeled her house in Argyle, Texas, publications were a priority. “I insisted top top a book room,” she said me. “I spend every morning in there, pets at my feet, coffee in hand, the town hall the sky readjust colors together the sun rises.” yet she and also her pet aren’t the just ones who gain her personal library. “We put the room adjacent—and open to—the kitchen so that at parties, civilization could additionally wander in there to sit and also chat.”


Reader Cindy Gordon spends time in her personal library v her dogs, Jack and Dayton, and her cats, Max and also Mollie.

See more: How Large Is 200 Square Feet, Could You Live In Under 200 Square Feet


How many publications make increase a personal library?

The best component of a an individual library is, the course, the books. I wanted to know just how many books these reader have and how lock build and also cull your collections.

Number that Books

The quantity of publications in these readers’ libraries variety from 100 to 2,000, escape on countless things, consisting of phase the life. Writer Temblador owns around 100 now, yet told me, “My score is to have actually a substantial library when I to buy a house one day.”

Although George and also her husband very own a residence in Seattle, her book collection is comparable to Temblador’s—about 150. “Because an are and humidity are issues here in Seattle,” she called me, “my book-buying habit has actually been curbed.”

Other readers have been able to collect hundreds of books. Rowland’s Tokyo library is dwindling, yet her Dallas library has grown to around 1,000 publications in print and also “an embarrassingly large collection of books for Kindle.” Her print collection contains works the belong to her whole family, yet she likewise admits to having actually a book-buying addiction. “You can never have too many publications or friends,” she told me. Together for her Kindle collection, she said, “I’ve spent the last te in a country where it’s complicated to discover English-language books.”

Out of every the readers, writer Langlinais has actually the biggest collection of print books. “I simply did a significant cull, for this reason I’m currently down to around 2,000.” It’s his enthusiasm for books that has led him to amass a repertoire this large. He’s hosted on to most of the books he bought once he was younger and also admits he has actually a difficult time parting with any of them. “Each one is a part of my past,” he told me. Langlinais likewise keeps several duplicates of certain titles. “If i love a publication enough, I’ll find a first edition of it. Ns don’t choose to lend out my first editions, so I could keep a paperback on hand in situation I desire to share it. Or, if ns really favor a book, I can buy several versions that the exact same book.”

For bookstore owner Feathers and librarian Rosales, expert habits affect their numbers. Feathers, that owns about 500 books, told me, “Being the publication buyer for a bookstore is like having actually a sweet tooth and living in a candy shop.” She spends hrs poring over publishers’ catalogs and is continually learning around authors, settings and subjects that intrigue her. “Every day I discover a publication that I should have,” she told me, “and I seldom deny myself.”

Rosales, who owns around 300 books, told me, “I collect, purchase and acquire brand-new books because that a living.” It’s a habit that bleeds over into his an individual life, too. “I can’t even go come Target there is no looking for new books to purchase,” he said. “It’s both a blessing and also a curse.”

Selection Process

Not surprisingly, many readers just buy what lock love. George, Gordon, and also Temblador all told me that once they read a book from a neighborhood library and also fall in love with it, they will acquisition it. George is also motivated to purchase books with gorgeous covers and also to shop in ~ indie bookstores when she’s traveling. Temblador told me she buys books for unique occasions, too—“like buying mine very an initial first-edition publication or once I’m traveling on long-haul flights overseas.” The writer added, “Other times, ns buy my writer friends’ books to assistance them in their journey.”

Temblador isn’t the only reader who profession substantially shapes she purchasing. Writer Langlinais collects works that are comparable to what the writes—literary fiction and short story collections. Houston-based leader Vicki Seldon is a timeless musician and has an entire section that biographies around musicians. Interabang owner feathers told me, “I’m an extremely committed come ensuring the Interabang’s shelves include gems the are small known or underappreciated. These comprise a large part of my an individual library as well.” and Rosales told me that as a librarian, collecting publications is “definitely a science and also a process.” when Rosales and also his mam are many passionate about nonfiction, he does have actually a arsenal of novels by Latinx authors. “The publication publishing sector is saturated through white authors, so I carry out what I have the right to to proceed learning around my culture, mine history, and my civilization to spread out the word and also love for others to also enjoy.”

Similarly, Seldon, who teaches at a historically black university and wasn’t exposed to literary functions by writer of color in her beforehand life, is intentional around her purchases. “My personal library has a comprehensive collection of fiction and nonfiction by black color authors that ns have built up over the previous twenty or therefore years. Now, ns am an ext likely to buy something by a human of color first.”

Rowland’s practical side tends to manage her decision-making procedure when she’s shopping because that books. “I rarely pay continual price because that a publication or buy brand-new books even, which method I don’t constantly buy what I desire to review most,” she called me. “But it’s always a nice emotion to uncover that book I’ve been searching for at a discount.”

No matter the motivation, the personal library selection process is synthetic up beautiful by Gordon: “It’s about creating a defense blanket of publications that have actually moved me in one method or an additional so that if ns think I need one that them, castle are appropriate there, waiting for me.”

Culling Process

For publication lovers, letting go of a book can be heartbreaking. “When i was a kid, if i left a book on the floor or destroyed its spine, my dad would certainly remind me that publications are considered the holy place of the Hindu goddess, Saraswati,” George said me. “We’re not also Hindu but the idea that publications are sacred really stuck.”

Yet culling a an individual library is inevitable—whether it’s due to the fact that of a move or come create an ext room on the shelves. Most of the readers ns asked told me they typically decide to cut publications that, together Rosales defined it, “don’t have a at sight special place in my heart.” If castle can’t uncover a place to offer or donate your books, readers will offer them to friends, which renders the loss easier to swallow. “I uncovered a writer best out the college who loves to read,” Langlinais said me. “I offered her two large boxes brimming v a the majority of my favorites. Ns love offering away books to those I recognize will cherish them together I do.”

How to Organize a personal Library

“There is no rhyme or reason to the method I’ve organized my books,” Temblador called me. And also she’s no alone. Gordon called me she organizes “by whim. Ns love looking at my shelves and also seeing Donna Tartt beside Barbara Brown Taylor.”

But also the readers that organize arbitrarily, or believe they haven’t organized their publications at all, room intentional around grouping several of their books. George said me she keeps a few favorite books, including author-signed copies, on she nightstand: