Unite Against Book Bans

Bookmarked Unite Against Book Bans by Jan Carmichael (


Unite Against Book Bans is a national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.

Get your fucking religion out of our public institutions.

House Learning Meta

Elevating a book collection to a personal library

Replied to How to nurture a personal library by Freya Howarth (Psyche)

Meaghan Dew, who works on collections and reader development in a Melbourne public library, suggested that a key part of nurturing a personal library is working out what you really want from it. The aim is β€˜not what you think your library should be’, she told me, β€˜but the library that you are actually going to use and appreciate on a regular basis.’

I’ve always acquired books individually, without consideration for the rest of my collection; I’m intrigued by this perspective shift of personal library versus book collection as a thought experiment. I’m not sure what I would change by thinking of my books as part of a whole.

My books currently fall into a few categories:

  • Art books
  • Graphic novels, comic books, and zines
  • Hiking and travel
  • Gardening and plant / wildlife reference
  • Personal growth and productivity
  • Design and writing craft reference
  • Assorted nonfiction
  • Assorted fiction

This balance reflects what I like to read in hard copy, what I want to have handy for reference, and what isn’t available at the library so I need to buy it to read it πŸ˜‰ (Another metric I’ve added for keep/discard in my thirties, after giving away dozens of indie comics: how hard it would be to replace or access elsewhere.)

A personal library can serve as:

  • a store for memories… a way to rediscover and revisit ideas and feelings…
  • a tool for research, which lets you encounter new ideas; and
  • a source of various pleasures: entertainment, escapism, solace, beauty, inspiration, and surprise.

Sometimes I feel like I could dump a bunch of the graphic novels, which I basically never reread, but this article’s suggestion of a store for memory perhaps fits my reasoning for keeping them around.

Packed personal bookshelf with art books, comics, non-fiction and reference books, plus a fuzzy alpaca stuffie
My bookshelf: art books on top by necessity (height), graphic novels and comic strips overflowing on the second shelf, reference and personal growth on the third shelf, nonfiction I haven’t read yet and craft books on the fourth, and out of sight on the fifth is fiction.

For years my personal allocation of books was whatever fit on this bookshelf; I purged and donated books (too) aggressively. I have disappointed people who know how much I read with the paucity of my physical collection πŸ˜‚

But I have been buying more books in recent years, especially during the pandemic. So I said my Collected Sandman doesn’t have to fit. Then I granted myself an allowance to store comic collections in boxes (Fables, Lucifer, Transmet, Saga). Then I let myself put my husband’s books in a box — he can get his own bookshelf πŸ˜‰ Then I started to squeeze books in horizontally. All this to say… I need a second bookshelf πŸ˜‚ Part of a collection is presentation and ease of access, and right now they’re packed to the gills, the divisions visually unclear because I mostly can’t fit bookends, and not very inviting to peruse or use.


Five Books

Bookmarked Five Books by Five Books (Five Books)

If you’re looking for the best books on any topic, Five Books has the world’s largest collection of expert book recommendations.


Shapes of Reading

Liked Shapes of readers; shapes of reading ⁂ Antilibraries Analects ⁂ (

Prioritizing depth: reading everything there is to read in a focused niche (but: may lack context and variety). Prioritizing breadth: reading widely across many areas (but: may stay on the surface).

A common way to balance the two is what I’ve seen called a β€œT-shaped” approach.

This is a fun thing to consider when I do my nextΒ annual reading reflection.

Relationships Websites

Connecting with other readers through our websites

Replied to IndieWeb Pop-Up: Personal Libraries (

Personal Libraries is a IndieWebCamp Pop-ups 2022 session focused on the design and use of personal websites with relation to displaying one’s books online, status updates about reading, and generally talking about books in a Goodreads-like social media manner.

When we log reads and write reviews on our personal websites instead of silos, how can we meet others who’ve read the same books and find out what books our network is reading?

Notes and thoughts from the IndieWeb Pop-Up “Personal Libraries”


Maybe we shouldn’t have gotten rid of our CDs

Liked Rob Sheffield on the Joys of the CD, Music’s Least-Glamorous Format by Rob Sheffield (Rolling Stone)

Compact discs never had the romance of vinyl or the convenience of MP3s. But they’re still the ideal format for getting lost inside your music collection.

I still have a CD player in my car so I hung onto my favorite 20-30 albums, and I somewhat regret getting rid of my collection. It wasn’t ever as big as my parent’s, but I had ~50-70 jazz CDs (donated to the local HS music department so hopefully someone’s still using them) plus probably a hundred albums. Some indie shit I probably couldn’t replace if I wanted (I like to think I’ve become slightly more thoughtful about what I give away in my wiser 30s πŸ˜‚).

But to be fair, my listening has shifted a lot since college, so the music I listen to most I don’t have on CD, and I got rid of a bunch of albums that I had kinda outgrown, so maybe it’s not a bad thing. I’ve only bought one or two CDs a year for the past decade, indie bands I wanted to give some extra support (and listen in the car).

There’s something about having a tangible object that makes it easier to flip through your collection and pull out things you haven’t listened to in a while. Growing up I was obsessed with learning to recognize every song that came on, so I was constantly comparing against the back of the CD. I liked looking through the liner art, and had a great visual memory for what the cover of every album was. Now it’s hard for me to remember what artist performed what song – I think that physical object of the jewel case was an anchor point for my memory. I also listen to playlists primarily these days, and know only a single song (or handful) by any given artist.

(Related? Structures of Thought)

I think there’s a place for both CDs and playlists in a musical library – I’ve benefitted from both styles of listening. But I do miss my five disc changer from my youth… hooked up to massive speakers nearly 3′ tall in my living room so they could punch some damn volume πŸ˜‚ (No idea if they were any good or not πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ)

I also think it’s worth remembering we got rid of our CDs for a reason… they do take up a lot of space and jewel cases are shit… but now we’ve spent time without them we can recognize what we’ve lost along with them.

I keep thinking about looking up a used CD player, maybe I’ll actually get around to it once day πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚ I’m curious how much I would listen to CDs if we upgraded the music system in our car and Bluetooth wasn’t an enormous pain – would I revert to mostly Spotify playlists on my phone? πŸ€”

Art and Design Resources and Reference

Open Source Design Resources

Bookmarked Open Source Design (Open Source Design)

Connecting open source & design! 🎨

Getting Shit Done

Books Unread

Quoted Building an antilibrary: the power of unread books (Ness Labs)

Unread books are as powerful as the ones we read. An antilibrary is a private collection of unread books capturing the vastness of the unknown.

“I feel increasingly comfortable buying books I may not be able to read for a while. All of these unread books remind me of endless opportunities for learning, and make me humble.”

Anne-Laure LeCunff

I struggle with having books unread, which I feel weighing on my like a to-do list sometimes, and I itch with the urge to read it so I can cross it off my mental list. But, I also like to surround myself with interesting options and visual inspiration, so I can grab something when the desire strikes. I like LeCunff’s attitude here.

“A private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Umberto Eco’s relationship with books

I’ve been trying to get more comfortable, also, with keeping around books that I have read so I can read them again. I don’t need to check them off my list and get rid of them right away πŸ˜‰ I tend to purge my personal library hard every few years, donating piles of books to the library (including lots of indie and small press comics that are not replaceable so hopefully the library added them to their collection instead of selling them :/ ). I treat the public library as an extension of my personal library, with books cycling in and out constantly (aside from COVID times – the seven months since I last went to the library is probably the longest I haven’t been in more than five years) so I have tried to share back with the library as I can. But I also am working on building up my personal library these days, especially my art book collection.