Libraries We Love – The Home Library

The key to understanding people and the world around us begins with education. One way to learn about the world is by developing a love of books. Each month, we profile a library. Large, small, urban, rural, post-modern, quaint or neo-classic; do you have a library that you love? Tell us about it. This month a guest writer Steve Sears writes about thebeauty, value and excitement of having your own library at home.

For a reader (or collector), there is joy in having books in your home.

There is greater elation when those books belong to you, arranged per your individual tastes – whether coded by Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress format, arranged by subject or however preferred – and can be approached with just a few steps when reading material is sought for relaxation or study.

In our New Jersey home, our number of books is approaching 1,500, and we have so far arranged on shelves via the Dewey Decimal system about 700 of the books, all with a card record located in a (so far) two-box strong card catalog.

For me, this is exciting. Can you relate?

I will refer to another significant point regarding this topic. I liken my current setup to a used bookstore where things are ajar and I’m enjoying trying to find a surprise, while at the same time am amazed at how my books have a starting point of 001 and an ending point of 975+.

Consider the following, which also proves a book collection valuable. The few mornings past I have been serenaded by a bird in our backyard “forest” (aka bushes which have gradually become trees), the bird’s eyes initially staring into mine from the branch of a crepe myrtle tree about 10 yards away, it chirping in song. Not the normal Blue Jay, Cardinal, or Sparrow that daily visits the greenery, I decided to see what type of bird it was. I entered our basement library, affectionately coined our “Basement Bookshelf,” and headed for section “500 – Pure Science,” and found a tiny book titled Birds: A Guide to the Most Familiar American Birds. 

A year or so ago, it had come in handy when we spotted and were able to identify a Red-Headed Woodpecker, and this time it again it would prove its worth. I then returned to the back deck and started slowly turning the pages of the 3” x 4”, 158-page paperback. Page 83 yielded a photo of a black-capped Catbird, the very bird I had been encountering, that “prefer shrubs and vines near houses.” A back-of-the-book ledger also states the species appears in the New York City area in May. Bingo!          

There is a beauty to a home library, too, and that includes the books that have yet to be cataloged and married to shelving; those books that lay on their sides, titles on the spines calling out for attention. When picked up, maybe dust or even cobwebs grace them, age defining some of the lot. Soon, however, they will be no longer seemingly forgotten but on the shelves with the rest of the books.

Worthwhile it is to have a library of books, no matter the size. Ours is perhaps a modest one, but it suits its purpose. I can (and often do) visit it, pull down a volume, and read, even if just a chapter, and place it back in our library.

It is exciting, it is romantic – and it is ours.


Steve Sears, who began his career post-heart attack in 1996, is a New Jersey-based freelance writer. He has written for community, state, regional, and national online and print publications. Visit his website and companion blogs at




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