Personal Libraries

IMG_0088If you want a library in your home, the first thing you must do is determine what kind of library it will be. Will it be a traditional, physical library with its own dedicated space? Will it be digital? Will you simply keep it in your mind? Will you create a combination of the three?

To create a mind-library, I recommend reading as many books as possible. What is most important is that those books are read attentively and well, so that upon recall, your memory proves true. Of course doing this can provoke two reactions, depending on the possessor of the library. The first is that one is seen as intelligent and impresses others at cocktail parties with anecdotes and quotes. The second is that one can come off as pompous and insufferable. I highly recommend honestly assessing one’s personality before taking on the mind-library, as one can either charm or alienate others by using it.

A digital library usually involves some form of technology, whether it be an e-reader, phone, tablet, or computer. Other than the mind-library, this is the option that saves the most physical space. It certainly saves more brain space than the mind-library. Unlike the mind- or physical library, though, the digital library can disappear through carelessness in digital maintenance, or temporarily with a loss of wifi or electricity.

And then there is my favorite, the traditional physical library. The traditional physical library is typically made up of paper-and-ink books, magazines, journals, etc. To me, there is something so lovely about the traditional library. A book is a physical manifestation of a story or ideas. A book is a friend, and if it is made of paper and ink, has a physical body. That union of ink and paper and binding cannot be forgotten by the mind, because it exists independently of it, and cannot be lost with the loss of wifi or electricity, because it is not dependent on either. Of course, the physical library comes with its own frailties. It is, obviously, incredibly flammable, and susceptible to damage by careless hands.

I’d recommend the combination of the three, for these reasons. The mind-library is a handy tool, because it requires no physical body of any kind. It also is an indicator of an intelligent and educated person. The digital library is an excellent space-saver and is quite economical, as more books can be fit in one space and are typically cheaper than their paper-and-ink counterparts. The traditional physical library needs to be preserved as a link to history and the literary tradition of the Western world.

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