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Loving Your Library (part 1)

How to manage your romance with books

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This week, the student lounge at my seminary was crowded with tables full of "free books" donated by a deceased former pastor. I'm sure the pastor meant well when he was making his arrangements—but make no mistake, books are never free. Books need to be read, filed, stored, and when you come to move to a new home or office, you will have to transport them. Books are heavy, and movers charge by the pound.

I would like to believe that preachers fill their bookshelves like a master mechanic fills his toolbox. I know that a well-stocked library has always been one of the ways that pastors have impressed and sometimes intimidated people, yet I would like to think that most of us add to our libraries because of the value of the insights and information that these resources offer. Still, if we are going to profit from these books, we are going to have to think carefully about how we manage them.


The most important way of managing your library is to be careful about what you acquire. ...

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Daniel Gulley

March 11, 2007  12:00am

Very helpful & practical suggestions on selecting books worthy of reading, on not selecting certain kinds of books, and on which books in a preacher's library he might actually consider getting rid of!

C. Richard Broome

March 06, 2007  5:38pm

A excellent article on library management. The acquisition triage is right on target, and the section on disposal should be memorized and practiced. Processor Anderson's point on continuing utility is especially pertinent in light of today's technological explosion. I am an octogenarian who used to say some thirty years ago, that if I were just starting out as a preacher, I would build my library with microfiche; today I would build it with computer programs and electronic texts. To paraphrase the thrust of the article, unless one's goal is "to impress or sometimes intimidate," why purchase a book with limited funds, read it (or parts of it) on limited time, then shelve it in relatively expensive space just to be dusted and occasionally moved or rearranged? A preacher really needs to give attention to library management. Having moved recently at my own expense in order to be nearer family and especially grandchildren, the per pound cost of moving books took its toll.

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