Multiplication Center

My Bookcase Dilemma

September 21, 2010

At any given time, I’m reading through several books. I’m typically in progress on the Bible, plus several newly published books – one on my nightstand, another in my travel bag, and one or two more on my office desk. I’ve even tried to use an e-reader, and have a book-in-progress there. Books have a definite future in my life, but do I need to keep them after I’ve read them?

While reading a book, I may take notes, but not on the book itself. I usually post things on my computer that I want to remember. Then I tend to give the book away. At least that’s what I’ve done in recent years, since finding that most books are available via any inter-library loan after they have been in print for awhile. My local public library can get almost anything (as can most libraries)since their inventory is online. Plus, under Google’s new book-scanning program, some books are available online for free in entirety. So why keep holding onto the book, taking up space and requiring an occasional dusting?

A year or two ago I made the decision to give away two books from my home library for each new one that I read. I’ve made progress in clearing out most college and grad school texts that I haven’t read since I graduated, and are outdated anyway. Now I’m wondering whether I should accelerate that pace.

What have you done? What do you recommend that I do with my library of once-read books that I’ll refer back to at most once or twice apiece over the next 20 years?


Bird-Warren-Oxford7Warren Bird, Ph.D., is Research Director at Leadership Network, and co-author of 21 books on various aspects of church health and innovation. His recent “Leadership Network” books blogs include  Updated Publishing Updates, Beyond Christendom Says Migration Keeps Transforming the Church, Terrific Biography of Rick Warren, The Soviet Plot to Kill God, The Worst Moment in Most Church Services, Excellent Resources for Church-Based Grants, Do White Churches Hold Others in Cultural Captivity?andChurch Merger Phenomenon Continues to Expand,”We’re Tired of Trying to Microwave Church Leaders” (1 of 3), “We’re Tired of Trying to Microwave Church Leaders” (2 of 3),“We’re Tired of Trying to Microwave Church Leaders” (3 of 3),The Christian Century on Megachurches

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