Franki over at a Year of Reading posted about book weeding (the process of removing books from a collection) and it is pain I relate to! As we prepare to move to a new home, the realization that I probably won’t be going back to a classroom anytime soon, and the sheer number of new books I’ve accumulated since mid November of 2009, has had me weeding as well! I have found it can be a very painful process. Like Franki, I also had my classroom library at home in the basement. Last year I donated half of it to a new teacher in our district. As our home has been on the market this fall (and in preparation for a move), I have taken a box or two a week from my basement to the different buildings (elementary, intermediate, and middle) for teachers to take to add to their own classroom libraries. Even though I have come to a good place in my head about getting those books back into kids’ hands (and not just gathering dust in my basement), some days when I walk by the pile in the teacher workroom and see a personal favorite languishing and not having been already snapped up, my heart does sink a little. Don’t they realize what a gem they just passed up?
To counteract that feeling, I’ve also taken to selecting books from the boxes to deliver to teachers who I know have certain interests in let’s say historical fiction or fantasy, etc. To see their face light up (and their students) when I walk in with a armload of books does my heart good. My daughter has dubbed me the book fairy, which I have to say I like better than when the school secretary nicknamed me the book slut last year!
I come to book hoarding naturally. My father has floor to ceiling bookshelves in his office that have books sitting two deep. While being surrounded by books is something I associate with good feelings, I realized that there is no way that I will probably reread even 1% of the books I own. Books are to be loved and shared. The best way to do that, is to pass the book on, not keep it on a shelf.