We have a few small bookshelves in our house, or, more precisely, places where we shelve books. This weekend, I reorganized them. I put into deeper storage the extra copies of my own book that I had stuck on the top shelf when it came out two years ago, and pulled out from a crate in the closet a stack of other books that I decided it might be nice to occasionally remember that I have. A few, I decided upon closer inspection, would better serve other folks.
The truth is that as much as I love them, shelves upon shelves of books in my own tiny space can make me feel crowded. The best solution I’ve found is to keep only a selection of true favorites and to store most of those where there’s space in the closet.*
But I admit that there’s something lovely about running your hands across book spines and pulling down for yourself a well-loved book of poetry or, perhaps, a book filled with poetic photographs. How rich we are when on a quiet afternoon we can pull a book down from a shelf and get lost for awhile. Here, a make-believe in-home library for finding a bit of solace as we wait on spring.
On the nose encouragement to read instead.
A set of bookends for holding everything up.
A wall lamp for dreary day and dark night companionship.
A step stool for the hard-to-reach shelves.
A bookmark for place finding.
A set of sticky notes for returning to old favorites.
A bit of greenery.
A bit of freshener (just in case some of those old favorites have gotten a little musty).
In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are two things we might do to encourage good bookish habits:
To keep people safe, healthy, and self-sufficient: Teach them to read. The non-profit Room to Read works in collaboration with local communities around the world to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading. You can learn more and get involved this way.
To help build strong libraries: Seek out diverse books. The Conscious Kid is an organization that partners with folks across the country to “promote access to children’s books centering underrepresented and oppressed groups.” Follow their work and support it right this way.
*(Okay, fine, and there’s still a box or two of other favorites in my parents’ attic.)