Personal Libraries—Past, Present, and Future
Until age 52, I enjoyed a house full of bookshelves and untold thousands of books. This was true despite living in a variety of homes over the years. Before moving to home #11, though, a wild and almost exuberant question unexpectedly slipped from behind the curtains and took center stage in my mind.
Even today, I hesitate to write the question, let alone publish it: “Do I really want to keep lugging all of these books with me wherever I go for the next 52 years?”
This was no small question! Of course, the answer was obvious. Especially for someone who has spent his entire adult life in the book publishing world. First, as the conceptual designer and executive editor for study and specialty Bibles published by Zondervan, Tyndale, Nelson, and others. Second, as the author, co-author, editor, or executive editor for a number of Bible-related books. Third, as the editor of 100+ books. Fourth, as the literary agent for 300+ books. Fifth, as a contributor to or endorser of dozens of books. Sixth, as a judge for several regional and national book awards. Seventh, as an avid reader who writes notes in his favorite books and can’t stand to part with any.
Still, I was haunted: “Do I really want to keep lugging a ton of books wherever I go for the next 52 years?”
In the end, I gave away more than 95% of my personal library. Many of the books now reside at Africa College of Theology in Rwanda. Many more reside in other libraries, in the offices of pastors and youth pastors, and in the homes of many friends and family.
Fast-forward to a few days ago. I installed Accordance 11 and now have more books than ever--instantly accessible, instantly searchable, instantly informing me more accurately and thoroughly than any huge stack of printed books ever could.
This, I realized, is the amazing library I will take with me, wherever I go, for the rest of my life!