I am astounded to learn that there are people out there looking to diminish the size of their libraries. If you are one of these people, there is a chilling WikiHow webpage that gives you nine steps to an emaciated library, including suggestions such as giving yourself a “read-to-purchase” ratio or only allowing yourself to buy a new book after you’ve given one of your old books away. As a friend of mine so eloquently put it: “Blasphemy!”
All “bulimic library” jokes aside, I do recognize that there are people who do not have the space–or in some cases do not have the desire–for a large library. Not every girl grows up dreaming (as I did) not of finding Prince Charming but rather of finding his library (a la Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast“, pictured above), and this is fine. An extensive library is not for everybody, this is why we have public libraries, and why I support them to the greatest extent possible.
If you do have a personal library it is my firm belief that nobody should make you feel guilty about any unread books it may contain. A library is not just a repository for books you’ve already read; quite the contrary. A personal library should be filled with old friends (books you’ve read and loved) and new friends waiting to be made, inspiring you to keep on reading.
My library is not a still and silent collection of books and shelves. And it isn’t just for me–it’s for my daughters and for my friends. My library is a living, breathing thing; it is a conversation; it is–like each book in it in its turn–a friend and lover, a teacher, a muse. It grows as I grow, and I would not want to hinder that for all the extra shelf space in the world.