My Library

I am crazy about books.  I like to look at them.  I like to hold them. I like to log them.  I adore to read them.  I collect them from the far corners of the globe (India, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, San Fransisco, Seattle, Sri Lanka etc).  I drag them all home to Fairbanks, Alaska and stuff them into my library, which is a converted bedroom.  For years I've played catch-up, and never seem to have enough shelves.  Every time I build more shelves I never seem to have quite enough for all the new books I've acquired.  Pretty soon I may even outgrow the room!

In 1994 I decided I wanted to log all my books.  So I hired the room mate of my wife (note that I didn't even meet my wife until 1995!) to help me enter the data into the computer.  Since then I have hired a variety of people to help out, though I have continued to do the majority of the work.

I wrote a C++ program is capable of digesting my listing of books, which creates a list (sorted by author) with links to the data I have on each individual book.  At last count (summer 2013) I have 1,749 books entered into the computer--and about 350 to go.

In logging I tend to go in stints, having never gotten everything really logged; I am usually quite a bit behind.  The data may have some gaps, for a variety of reasons.  For example if I hadn't read the book at the time I logged it I won't have entered how well I liked it!

Where I've logged the word count, I tended to be very generous...I would find a page with each of the first 10 lines filled with words (ie no new paragraphs)--or as close as I could find.  Then I counted the words on these 10 lines & divided by 10 to get the average words/line.  Times lines per page times pages per book.  I would guess this results in a number about 10% high (for example at the beginning or the end of each chapter there is a lot of blank space that would have been counted as full of words).

I acquire books from a wide variety of sources.  A few examples: left behind by tenants, book trade shelf at the Hilo marina, hard-to-find books on ebay, used bookstores in Hay-on-Wye (UK) [thanks to my cousin Pat W. for mentioning it as a good place to buy books], and (of course) new books.

As yet (if ever) I have not properly edited or reviewed the files, so there are some mistakes!  So pardon gaps...

There are now around 2,000 books cataloged in my library...these are not yet complete...and I doubt they ever will be as I am always buying more!!

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by Ray R. Collins
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