My Library

The Why of My Library: a general scope note.

Updated 5 April 2018.


Libraries have been inextricably linked with me, my development and life, even from earliest childhood.  Mother often told that she felt the luckiest girl in town when the Granite Falls Public Library moved from City Hall to occupy the former Episcopal Church, only kitty-corner from her parents’ home.  That was 1920, her 19th year.

Both my parents read a lot, but different things for each.  Their home, constructed the year before I was born, contained a built-in bookshelf.  When people entered the house, they saw the full shelves directly opposite the front door.  When the four of us Sween children outgrew a single bedroom, Dad and the carpenter next door – Benny Freiburg – made the central run of the attic into a bedroom for my brother and me.  Most of the knee walls were in place when Mom in the middle of one night got the idea – why not build-in bookshelves.  Soon my half of those forty linear feet filled with books.

From 7th grade, I was the perennial secretary of the Scholastic Book Club, placing orders for classmates and using a regular amount of my paper route earnings to buy books.  I do not remember giving any specific order to that little collection, but by the time I was ready for college I had boxes of books to take along, mostly history and a few classics of literature, the King James and RSV Bibles among other titles.  The St. Olaf College bookstore meant the ready temptation of a lot more books: I went for the books being talked about among my friends.  During our sophomore year, Robert (Erling) Hanson and I filled our narrow room in Kildahl with his books and mine.

After college, reliance on bricks and boards continued for some time.  In part, being a low-paid librarian with family responsibilities constrained my buying ability.  Besides, the principal benefit of being a librarian was first hand, everyday access to the books in my charge.  In school libraries, I felt my obligation to keep up with every new book added to the collection; in academic libraries I followed my favored interests.  The first new burst in my collection was the sudden discovery of science fiction in the early 1970’s, something that none of the libraries in Platteville WI could satisfy.  I needed cheap metal storage shelves for the one 12×12 room in the house that was my study-library in Platteville or the space eked out of the lower level family room and storage space in Red Wing.  When Katharine left home after college to teach music, I took over her bedroom.

When I left working in libraries to become a library consultant, I felt the need for a library of my own as an all-the-more insistent necessity.  I always had questions, and my searches to know and understand, rather than just narrowing my ignorance also perpetually broadened what I needed to know.  The process of going after any particular interest or area of knowledge awakened within me how much more I had to learn.  Before we left the house on Spruce Drive in Red Wing, I had to double shelve my books for lack of space; some had to go into storage boxes.

For about 17 years in a new house, built partly to accommodate my library, the collection enjoyed great growth.  Then a reversal process began.  Specific posts detail this process while examining the origins of CeptsForm Library and its evolution as a consciously developed resource in support of my deliberate reading, thinking and writing.  Because I previously posted on Blogspot, I have linked to the blog there rather than move the articles to WordPress.

A-Z: Alphabetical List of My Library’s Entries. See the companion blog’s section listing individual collection titles.

Acquisitions, originally posted in February 2009, looks at my formative reading experiences and developing interests to explore how the collection grew and reached its scope at that time. For a personal update on the same subject, see Practice of Policy, listed below.

Practice of Policy, posted in April 2014, reflects on a book selection event and its result in a more personal way that supplements the previous post Acquisitions.

All I Want in Life Is …, posted June 2015, gives 15 personal wishes revolving around books.

Library Growth, also posted in February 2009, shows changes in the library during its period of most rapid growth, 1994-2008, as well as shifts in emphasis among the subject classifications.

Static State: 2013, a synopsis of Additions 2013, provides a glimpse of collection emphasis and direction through a profile of statistics by broad subject categories.

Discards, another February 2009 post, but updated at the end of March, briefly chronicles the first organized process of withdrawing and discarding CeptsForm Library books in the face of space pressures and other forces intended to keep the collection current and useful.

Calamity 2009, posted in November 2009, relates the fate of the library due to a stack collapse that summer that forced a major shift in the libraries collection.

In 2009, I began to chronicle my additions to CeptsForm Library in annual listings.  While they constitute the business record of library additions, these acquisition lists  illustrate my interests that become more intensively focused with the passage of time.  Additions 2009; Additions 2010; Additions 2011; Additions 2012; Additions 2013; Additions 2014; Additions 2015; Additions 2016; Additions 2017; Additions 2018; Additions 2019.

Classification or Shelf Order: As I work through my collection to update my records, I will begin to list the books I have in the order they appear on the shelf in the collection. The major exceptions to the published list is that some titles marked Ref for reference are close at hand in my office and some titles that are Ov for oversize are in my bedroom. The books so profiled by class are non-fiction books with the subject breakdowns noted. Those published follow in sequential order.

A Classification covers general and cross disciplinary areas including Encyclopedias, Miscellanies, Periodicals of Various Conent, Yearbooks and Almanaces, and Knowledge and Information in General.

B Classification covers Philosophy and Philosophers in general, including the history of philosophy and guides to philosophy besides individual philosophers and their works.

BC-BD Classification covers particular aspects of philosopy including Reason, Logic, formal philosophy generally, Epistemology and Metaphysics.

BF-BJ Classification covers the Mind, Psychology, Aesthetics, Ethics and related issues as morality and irrationality.

BL-BQ Classification includes Religion generally, Spiritual life, Mythology, Judaism and Islam.

BR Classification covers Christianity and Church more generally, including early Christian literature, relation to social aspects, the history of Christianity (overall and by period and region or nation), and biographies related to Christian figures.

BS Classification focuses on the Bible, both as the book itself, its various parts and individual books, and related translations, history, interpretation, and study.

BT Classification includes Judaic and Christian doctrinal theologies relating mainly to matters of understandings and beliefs.

BV Classification covers theologies of Christian practice including worship, the church, sacraments, Christian life,  mission and pastoral theology.

BX Classification ranges over Christian denominations including issues of ecumenism and Church unity.

C Classification includes subjects auxilliary to history, such as Civilization, Archaeology, Chronology and Calendar, Heraldry, Genealogy, and Biography.

D Classification begins History, considered in general, including Historiography, the philosophy of history, World History by period, and Europe in general and by period. European nations follow in classes DA-DR pertaining to each.

DA Classification covers Great Britain and the territories of the British Isles – England, Ireland, Scotland Wales.

Z Classification covers Bibliography, Writing (not authorship), Books, Publishing, Censorship & Intellectual Freedom, and Libraries. As such the coverage illustrates my personal approach to my professional career of 40 years and at the intellectual level, my continuing interest.

Portions of this post first appeared as “Scope Note,” 19 November 2009, slightly revised on 5 April 2010, rewritten in this version.

For retrieval of all my posts with greater relevance, logic and precision than Google has yet to provide, see Index of My Posts for those indexed links.

I welcome all comments to blog articles.  Personal comments to me may be sent to my current email address.

© Copyright by Roger Sween 2009, 2010, 2011.

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