Sunday, February 26, 2006

Home Library Maintenance Work Today

Today I made a 'to do' list. I don't usually do that anymore. I used to be a big list maker but don't need to do that anymore. I use mental lists. Seeing long 'to do' lists on paper which never get finished actually makes me feel like a failure or gives me various negative feelings about myself, so I avoid doing it!

Anyway the ideal list today had 20 items on it. I have already done three which are for me to go to church/kids go to Sunday School, go to the bagel shop to get a dozen bagels, and get a few needed items at the grocery store on the way home from church.

My main project today is to input books into my book inventory Excel spreadsheet. I will be working from some bags and boxes of books which I have bought in the last three months here and there that are sitting in the corner of our home library gathering dust and waiting to be put away in an organized and sorted manner. I also will be working off of my old paper list system, transposing handwritten lists of the books we own into Excel.

The reason that we own so many books is that I used real and good aka "living books" as a main part of our homeschooling curriculum. I have been buying a lot of used books from library sales in the last couple of years. I also love to book hunt at used book shops. I design our own science program using living books as the content. I also use a lot of living history books to round out our world history lessons (our spine is "The Story of the World" and the four year chronological world history sweep as recommended in "The Well Trained Mind". We also read a lot of children's fiction picture books and chapter books including classics.

If I have to label our homeschooling method it would be classical with strong influences and use of Charlotte Mason's methods. Since we combine different companies curriculum and use living books and since I tailor some of the plans to my children's unique interests and since I don't do everything that various 'experts' recommend be done if one is 'to teach a classical curriculum', the label 'eclectic' is a better fit for us.

(Note some things on the 'to do' list that probably won't happen will be to clean everything in the bathrooms from the shower to the mirrors to the toilets. Today I am putting books as a higher priority than cleanliness.)

I need to get a grip on having an inventory of what I own so that I don't purchase duplicate books. I am trying to avoid wasting money on that.

There is a library sale coming up in two weeks which I am feeling an internal pull to attend. The library sale is in a wealthy town and the donations they receive are often high quality including new/never read books and also high quality content books such as non-fiction children's books, classics and other non-twaddle books. I am telling myself that I cannot go to that sale unless I make a concerted effort to input our current inventory onto one usable list.

Someday I want to also move that data into LibraryThing. However I have decided that my first priority is to have a base list. Since I already have 3400+ books in Excel I think I should finish up that listing and get it complete before I continue working on my LibraryThing account which has about 200 books in it. Right now I am not happy that LibraryThing is not yet loading categories of books, they rely on tags. For example if they know a book is a children's nonfiction science book then it should, in my opinion, somehow be categorized by them as a children's nonfiction science category book. Furthermore I would like it to say whether it is a picture book or a chapter book or for what age range the publisher categorizes it as. These things are known to Amazon and to the Library of Congress and the other sources which LibraryThing pulls their information from. Right now LibraryThing is relying on customers/users/members to input their own tags, their own categories. Since I have an Excel spreadsheet in which I have already loaded the categories of over 3400 books, which is a searchable document, I think I should continue working on it.

Update: As of 5:30pm: I am going cross-eyed from doing data entry on the computer. I surpassed book #4100. I need to take a break! I think I did enough for today. I also am thinking that I have a lot of great books that I have not yet read and that I should use what I have rather than buying more stuff. I was just doing data entry of books and stuff that I bought at a homeschooling conference in March 2004 which I still have not used. Yikes.

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1 comment:

Camden said...

LibraryThing is a good tool, but there are some other sites that let you catalogue music and movies as well. Socialogue ( is worth a look.