My Library Adventure Almost Finished, Supposedly

Latest lag of my library adventure
brand new book shelves in the hallway
view from the stairs

About two years ago I have finally moved in my house, after living for about five years in a room (and an office in the attic) in my daughter’s house (I have decided to give priority to my grandchildren, and finish their house before ours), we have finally moved in my house.

For about seven years three quarters of my thousands of books were in boxes, with only some of the essentials on shelves in my office in the attic. I must confess I felt like I am without hands and feet, intellectually. Every time I needed a book for my academic writing I had to ask help from my friends, which limited my choice to digital formats, because I probably have one of the best Protestant theological libraries in my area.



After some time from moving to my house, which we have consecrated to God through an ecumenical ceremony only in May this year (see some pictures above), in the presence of some close friends, I have started designing the bookshelves. It took me months till they were built and other long months after some of my book boxes were open, books dusted and then tiled on the shelves (in the alphabetic order of the authors; I have made this choice after consulting with a librarian, based on the fact that I plan to later on record all books in a library software (I use BookCollector, that I like a lot, even if, unfortunately, they do not have a solution yet for books published in Romania).

I am really thankful to my former student and friend Victor Gotinjan, who is a trained librarian. I am very allergic to dust, so I depend totally on external help for dusting the book in my boxes.

After months and months of work, here is how the bookshelves in my office look like at this time (I have to say that the landscape is changing permanently, as new books are located on the shelves. Some letters have the strange habit ( 🙂 )of crowding the shelves, so we have to continuously move books around, and this will continue to happen until we finish sorting out all boxes.

This is the shelf behind my desk

These are the bookshelves on the opposite wall
The glass door separates the office from the library room
I keep the doors open in the evening, to admire the sunsets

This is the entrance wall; most shelves are dedicated
to reference books

Shelves and the office desk (that I will have to replace when I have some spare money; it is not wide enough for my needs) were made by a supposedly professional business, but I am not very happy with the quality of their work in relation to the price I have paid. The rest of the book shelves were built my my son-in-law and have been relatively cheap and much better quality wise.

We have moved then in the library and TV room.

These shelves (not arranged yet) are dedicated to
CDs, DVDs, travel albums and art books

When we have filled the shelves in the office, we needed to build new shelves, which was the duty of my son-in-law. We have decided to leave the lower two levels for files and oversize documents, which we will put, when funding will allow, in good looking coloured plastic boxes sold by Ikea.

The shelves fit under a sort of loft built over the bedroom (a crazy idea I had) that gives way to a small attic storage space. That space still needs to be finalised and a lightweight ladder will give access to the loft and the shelves higher up.

Not long ago, when about a third of the boxes still needed to be opened, we have realised that there is no way we can fit all our books on the existent shelves, even if some of the non-theological, more literary books were already hosted in the living room downstairs.

After some deliberation, we have decided to also build shelves in the hallway upstaires, on two opposite walls. And I have also decided to change the colour of the material, switching from brown to while, being inspired by a beautiful image on Facebook (maybe you remember that one – I was not able to find it now – with two rows of white filled bookshelves in a quite narrow space, at the end of it having a bed and a large window with a garden view.

{I will place the picture here, if I find it. Anybody can help?)

The first one, built between the bedroom door and the bathroom door, was finished a few weeks ago and was quickly filled up, as you can see below.

This is how the latest filled bookshelves look like. Yet, about a quarter of my books were still in boxes. So we had to quickly build another set, on the opposite wall, at the end of the hallway upstaires.

This is another view of the brand new shelves
at the end of the hallway upstairs

It is the task of the next weeks to open up the last batch of boxes, dust the books, and set them in alphabetic order. Yet, I will have to manage this time with less help, because my librarian friend has started work at his school. So, may God have mercy on me! Lately, because of these maneuvres, I am going through a severe allergy crisis and I need to take things more lightly.

Today, my middle grandson, Rafael, who is clearly the more industrious of the three we have here, spent an hour of so dusting books in two boxes, of his initiative (I hope my colleagues in World Vision will not accuse me of child labour :-). His work will surely be well rewarded.

And that is, for now, the end of my library adventure. More about it, possibly, when the whole work is finished. Yet, selecting and shelving the books is only half of the job. What follows is the hard work of cataloguing the books, which will probably take years, just in time for my retirement, when I plan, if the Lord allows me days, to make full use of the library when I will finally have the time to write the books that I have now on the back burner. Again, may God have mercy!



Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

14 thoughts on “My Library Adventure Almost Finished, Supposedly”

  1. Many Pelikan books are missing from my library. I have less than 10 titles, maybe 7.
    Not heard of Sasse (apologies!) and have nothing of Pieper or Walther.


  2. thanks for the reply. BTW, how many Jaroslav Pelikan books are missing from your library ? Do you have anything of Herman Sasse (lutheran dogmatician and ecumenist, anti-hitler, settled in Australia after WWII) ? How about Francis Pieper, or CFW Walther on distinction between Law & Gospel ? … just curious


  3. I did that too in my previous library, but the problem is that some books fit legitimately into more than one topic, which makes such books difficult to catalog and, consequently, to find.
    For a relatively small size library, like mine, I find the alphabetic cataloging based on name of author the best choice, provided the books are registered in specialised library software, where one can introduce as many key words as needed for easy finding. Besides, such a software also allows for easy administration of books loaned.
    Of course, one may use the Dewey system, but this is, in my opinion, too elaborate for a small library.
    About 30 years ago I have created for myself a topical library system that I may still have somewhere on a diskette, but even that would be used more easily if backed by a books cataloging software .


  4. Imi pare si mie rau ca n-am putut fi mai mult de ajutpor, Mai am inca vreo cincime din cutii de deschis, dar finalul este acum aproape, si cred ca am deja rafturile de care am nevoie. Esti binevenit in curind, dar ma tem ca in Germania ai acum la dispozitie mult mai mult decit iti pot oferi eu, cu modestele mele mijloace (in comparatie cu cele ale oricarei universitati).


  5. Scuze, acum am recitit postarea si vad ca au fost 7 ani si ceva. Au fost ani frustranti nu doar pentru tine, ci si pentru altii de prin jur, care ar fi vrut sa profite…


  6. Felicitari si din partea pentru (re)inaugurarea bibliotecii? Dupa cati ani de asteptare a avut loc acest fericit eveniment?


  7. Congrats on your newly designed library. One to be envied for sure. What is the reason for your arranging the libarary by author ? I have decided to arrange by Christian library by topic (church history, biblical studies, eastern orthdoxy, catholicism, lutheranism, contemplative, etc.). God bless.


  8. Trebuie sa fie acolo un semn de intrebare dar nu mi-a mers claviatura. Deici nu e o afirmatie ca o concurezi ci o intrebare/


  9. Nu, doar pe cale de folosita mai rara 🙂
    DE fapt le pun alfabetic; ca atare, cum le e norocul; acum acolo sunt, deocamdata, literele de la M la P


  10. You’ve got a job for life as they say. Now you’ve proved that you are not a man of one book. 🙂

    By the way taking into account how much you know me,if I visited you what book from your library would you recomend me to read (apart from the obvious one:) ?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: