Sunday, September 10, 2006

The library

It seems I am the last to know about Library Thing. It's a site where you can create a library listing of the books you have. It's addictive.

Creating an account is free - you just choose a username and password and you're ready to go. You can search the Library of Congress or Amazon by title, author, ISBN, whatever. Then click, and the book is on your list. If the cover has been scanned in to Amazon, then it's on your list as well, if you want to view your library by covers.

You can apparently connect with other people who have the same books you do, but I haven't figured out how that works yet.

It takes about thirty seconds to enter a book, once you get going. I've always wanted to have a complete listing of all my books (might be helpful when it comes time to cull out the unnecessary ones.) David constantly reminds me that I have too many books - I probably do, but I'm not ready to part with them just yet. I've focused my collection to primarily books about my field. I may not need them every day, but when I need them, I really need them - and some are rare.

If we had any kind of extra space at school, I would donate them and keep them there - unfortunately the department is just as pressed for space as I am at home.

I did have two large bookshelves in my office, each of which is divided into 20 spaces; each of those spaces holds about 12-15 books, depending on the thickness of the books.

(note: the link takes you to the Ikea page for the general style of bookcase, but it defaults to a different bookcase. If you're dying to see my choice in bookcases, you have to choose the "black-brown" color and the "58 and 5/8 x 58 and 5/8" option. So much work!)

So ... 20 spaces times 12-15ish per space ... that's something like 250-300 books per bookshelf.

Aiiieee. Writing it out like that - that's a little unnerving.

Anyway, having both of those bookshelves in my office was really weighing me down, feng-shui-wise. There was so much heaviness in the office that I could barely work in there (one of the shelves blocked a floor air vent, and the piano blocked the other, so it was no wonder the room felt stagnant.) While David was away for a week in New York and I was home alone in Baltimore, I knew it was time to finally tackle making my office somewhat habitable.

I had this fanciful notion that I could somehow just maneuver one of the shelves down the stairs singlehandedly. That was a fool's dream - I unloaded one of the shelves and dragged it out of my office onto the landing, but it was immediately clear that it was too large and too heavy to manage.

So, I found my trusty Ikea hex-key, and proceeded to take the shelf apart, and carry it down three flights of stairs piece by piece (just the way it had originally made its way up to the third floor to begin with.) It took most of a day to transport all the books and all the pieces of the shelf down to the basement level - it was a hot, humid day and even with the airconditioning blasting away, I had to take frequent breaks to keep from dissolving into a sweatpuddle and keeling over.

Reassembling it was just as much of a pain as building it had been originally - in typical Ikea fashion, you somehow have to get all the cross-hatching parts to fall into line simultaneously, all pegs magically fitting into all holes. But with enough swearing, I managed to do it, and voila: the shelf was there on the lowest level of our house, in all its overly massive Swedish glory.

It took another day to put the mountain of books back into the shelves - I took the opportunity to remove a fair number of them, along with various tchotkes that had been hidden among the books.

My office felt breezier (literally, now that the vent was unblocked) and I've been able to work much more productively in there.

Now I just have to find the time to enter the rest of the books into Library Thing, and I'm all set.


Blogger Rindy said...

No such thing as too many books.

The books didn't get too big! It's the shelves that got too small.

9:05 AM  

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