My Picture Book Problem

Sunday, 14 September 2014

I have a bit of a problem. Well, I guess you could call it a 'problem'--but it's more like an obsession. You see, I have an enormous {ENORMOUS} collection of picture books, from all over the world, and I've run out of places to put them.

My other problem is--when I need to find a particular book, I ... um ... well--can't find it.

I use these books for many purposes other than pure enjoyment. I use them for referencing, for illustration inspiration, for workshops, for study, for presentations to school children. They are my work, my joy and yes, my obsession.

I don't know what took me so long, but I knew it was time {with a collection now reaching the thousands} that I catalogued the books in some way, so I set up a Word doc with rows for Title, Author, Illustrator, Format, Publisher, Year, ISBN and a final column for specifics such as large format, long, pop up, etc.

You could also use an Excel spreadsheet or Google doc, and in fact, I might even transfer it to Google because it's safe there {I think I would melt into a puddle if something happened and I lost this list!} and it's handy in that when you start typing, the same words will appear as auto type. Great for repeat creators and publishers, of which there are many.

As you can see, I've not bothered to fill in the year and ISBN too thoroughly yet. Might do that in retirement! but they are handy to have. You'll also notice I've listed the creators by surname so that, with one click of the mouse, I can sort the titles alphabetically.

I'm attempting to file my books alphabetically, too, but since they stretch over, let me see--one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight bookcases {plus four or five general surfaces, in piles}, it's difficult to sort them in this way without having to move books from shelf to shelf. I also have shelving that only hosts smaller books, so I'm trying to at least sort each bookcase alphabetically, to make the search easier.

Then there's the books that are 'sort of' picture book related, but are really  magazines or activity books or adult books ABOUT picture books--and I've decided to file these separately.

It's a huge job.

One day, I dream of having an entire wall with built-in shelves that I can pack with my entire picture book collection, including a little roller ladder that I can slide across the floor to access higher shelves. I might even wear glasses and put my hair in a bun. I've always harboured a secret dream of being a librarian--here is my little slice of that dream.

Until then, I just have to accept that it's a huge job sorting and caring for these books (I've also begun covering the hard covers in plastic--I'm about 1% of the way through) ... but it's well worth it. Shoes are nice. Handbags are a dream. But picture books are what make my heart thunder {literally}--and so the collection will continue to grow.

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