Spring Clean & Organize Your Books

While eBooks are growing increasingly popular, there are still people who enjoy the experience of reading a book in physical form. Even if you’re not a huge bibliophile, sometimes the number of books stuffed into a small space can get overwhelming. Friends lending or gifting you their favourite novels, books from university that you’ve hung on to, or books that you bought yourself quickly clutter up bookshelves or find their way on to every available surface in your home. The phrase “getting rid of books” inspires fear in book lovers, but I’m not talking about a bonfire of the vanities. Here are some ways to find better homes for the books that you no longer have a need for, as well as ways to better organize your library!

Go through the books you haven’t read in ages and decide whether or not you plan on reading them again. Be honest with yourself. The books will not feel betrayed if you decide they would be better off on someone else’s bookshelf. These may range from novels you enjoyed eons ago or textbooks that you kept, despite graduation being long in the past. Once you’ve separated them from the books you plan on keeping, make a plan for how you will send them to new homes. Stores like BMV will buy books from people, but they won’t take everything. Consider donating to your local library or, for books geared towards children, your local elementary school’s library (be sure to check with the school before hauling the books to their door). For old textbooks, there are multiple stores around the downtown area that will take them off of your hands, such as Willow Books (333 Bloor St W).

After you’ve cleaned up your library, organizing it is the next big monstrous task. While my system is still in the works, I’ve divided my books first by non-fiction and fiction, then type of book or by topic (e.g. graphic novels versus novels), and finally alphabetically by author. I could go one step further and sort by genre, but the classification of genre throughout the fictional part of my library is a bit too fuzzy for me to comfortably deal with. Even if you’ve found a great system of organization, it can still be difficult to find specific books within that system. I’m lucky that my books are contained to one room, but if you have a house full of bookshelves, it’s easy to forget where you’ve put each and every book. That’s where software like calibre comes in. With calibre, you can create a database of libraries with ease. Originally designed for eBooks and other book files, you can also use it to keep track of physical books as you aren’t required to attach files to an entry. Libraries are organized first by author, then title and, if you’re organizing eBooks, book files. If this is how you organize the books in your house, this can help you keep track of the contents of each bookshelf in your house. You can also add ISBN numbers to your entries, if you want. Calibre is available for download at absolutely no cost, which is a huge plus.

Remember, there is no such thing as too many books, but there is such a thing as not enough space. Happy reading!

Julia Meadows

Julia Meadows is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto who enjoys exploring the city and writing about what she experiences.

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