A delightful society

The British Library welcomes me to London, December 2005

The British Library welcomes me to London, December 2005

“Books are delightful society.  If you go into a room and find it full of books – even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome.”  ―    William Ewart Gladstone

From the most magnificent libraries to the humblest bookshelves, I feel at home wherever there are books.  I guess that’s why I eventually earned my Master of Library and Information Studies at the University of Hawaii (1994-1996).  But long before I had a graduate degree in library science, I haunted the stacks of every library I could find, and still have about a dozen active library cards to various libraries.  Wherever I go, I seek out and visit the public libraries, each unique but all with the enduring appeal that comes from housing infinite possibilities for exploration and discovery.

Through books, I connect to other people from worlds vastly different from my own, experiencing the timeless bond that comes from the sharing of ideas, stories and viewpoints.  While the internet now offers similar opportunities for connection, for me there will never be anything quite like the comfortable yet exciting “click” of recognition I sense whenever I walk through a library door: I belong.


  1. Katherine Hepburn said, “What would we do without our libraries?” and Rita Mae Brown said, “My life began the day I got my library card.” I too love a library. I really love small ones although big ones are so much fun. But the time in my life that I loved a library the most was when I met a lady (at VAFB in CA) who took her two boys to the library at least once a week. For books or movies, for books on tape. She taught me that I could take my little girl there and not worry that she needed to be quiet. She taught me the real value in a library is sharing it with our children. I hope I taught my children that. Love you

    • Hi Amy, believe or not I was trying to figure out who that woman was since I was at VAFB at the same time you were! I dearly loved the library there and its librarian, “Mr. B.” who really understood what patrons needed and wanted. Thanks for sharing the quotes! Another one I have always liked is from Thomas Jefferson: “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” HOW TRUE!

  2. Sheila

    Good Saturday morning,Julia. I couldn’t help but think of the quaint book store in the movie
    Notting Hill. William Thacker (Hugh Grant) was the perfect shopkeeper. I agree that many worlds await us in the pages of books. I have always thought to find comfort in a book is a wonderful gift. I hope rest and relaxation is the order of the day for you,as well as Jeff and Matt. Thoughts and prayers for you,Sheila

    • Thanks Sheila, as always the prayers and thoughts are greatly appreciated. When I was a child, the lady who lived across the street from us would give us books at Christmas. I always looked forward to her gifts because books were what I most wanted and least often received. My husband’s aunt who is also my dear friend always gives us books, and his mother often gives us books as well, so I always look forward to their gifts. Ditto for my older brother and sister who share my love of reading. Our shelves are filled with many books given to us by people we love, and they are doubly treasured, for their content and for the underlying sentiment.

  3. Mike Bertoglio

    Here in Seattle we have local celebrity librarian Nancy Pearl. She has a web-site and column -“Book Lust “and has written several titles by same moniker. She often does segments on NPR and she even has her own action figure. She has brought many unknown works to my attention.
    I am at the point where it is time to start downsizing, but it is difficult to part with anyof my books -though I know I must. I have about three rooms full.

    • Mike, I have heard of Nancy Pearl; I think she was featured in This Book is Overdue! which was an interesting look at “Cybrarians” in my profession. As for parting with books; for me they will be the last things to go, although I weed my home collection continually. One big help for me is using the Paperback Swap site (on which you can swap all kinds of media, not just paperbacks, and get free books of your choice in return). If you’re interested, I just posted a link to that site on the right margin of this page. I find it is easier to part with a book if I’m sending it to someone who wants it and will appreciate it! I’ve sent and received hundreds of books this way, and many are expensive books that are like new, shared by other book lovers who take good care of them and pass them along.

  4. MaryAnn

    My Dear Julia! The photo came up 1st on my computer screen and I immediately thought:
    Julia loves books! It almost felt like I knew what you would write!
    I read everyday. Learning is so important to me…
    Thank you so much for sharing your love of nature & books!

    • Mary Ann, you’re welcome! I appreciate your kind words and encouragement more than I can say.

  5. One of my favorite things to do with you is prowl the libraries! I can’t even imagine some of the homes I go into and there is literally NO reading material of any kind. To me, a home is a home when I’m surrounded with things to read. I think we learned our love of reading from our Daddy!

    • Carla, Daddy was definitely the one who introduced us to literature, but I have countless memories of seeing Mom reading in bed before going to sleep. Like Jeff, she preferred nonfiction — I don’t remember ever seeing her read fiction — and she was especially fond of the “positive thinking” books. I agree with you about the importance of having books in the home. I cannot imagine how people can live without books. I’d rather stay in a shabby, comfortable home with lots of books than in the grandest palace without them.

      • You are right about Mom. Thanks for reminding me of her contribution too. We have quite a rich heritage!!!

        • After I wrote that, I realized that I did see her reading fiction sometimes – she used to read those condensed books from Reader’s Digest and I think most of them were fiction.

  6. Congratulations on your Master Degree! What a great achievement. I love old books, with the old paper smell. The ability for a story to take you to a place you will never go, like to the past, another century or even the future is what I love in a story.

    • Yes, I love that too — sometimes when I visit a place I’ve never been, but have read a lot of stories set there, a lot of the features feel familiar to me simply because I have read about them.

  7. I’ve always loved libraries as well, and thought I would become a librarian when I was young. What a beautiful photo.

    I applaud your courage in starting this blog. I empathize, too, with what you are going through. Sending you caring thoughts.

    • Thanks so much Alys, I found you on Boomdeeadda’s site and was hooked by your title “Born to Organize” – love it! Mine should be “Born to admire and need organization.” Thanks so much for the good wishes, and for visiting us here.

      • You are too funny! Boomdeeadda is the bees knees. We check in every single day and plan to meet for the first time later this year. Isn’t that fun?

        Its amazing what blogging brings to your front door.

        As for organizing, I’ve been doing it my whole life, but started to organize folks professionally over five years ago. I love it!

        • You picked the perfect career field – we all have way too much stuff and too little time. I guess organizing is like giving people more time in their day. I think it would be great fun to organize other people’s things. Very rewarding – and then you get to leave while it still looks good! The hardest part for me is getting people to go along with whatever system I devise. It seems to me that people think very differently about whether something needs to be put away, and/or where it should go. YES blogging is amazing – I’ve only been doing it a short time but the friendliness and generosity of the blogging community has really impressed me.

          • Hi Julia,

            It is rewarding. Very much so. I love what I do and feel so lucky to have found my way here.

            People do think differently, which is why one size doesn’t fit all. The best systems, when more than one person is involved, is a collaboration. Each person gives a little and gets a little till you find what works.

            Finding a home for things is half the battle. If you don’t have a place for something, it will likely become part of a pile. The bigger the pile, the harder it becomes to tackle it.

            We’re glad you are here.

            PS my other blog is http://organizedatheart.com/
            if you’re interested.


            • Thanks for the link, I AM interested! And every little hint or tip I pick up is a step in the right direction. Thanks for the inspiration!


  1. How we remember « Defeat Despair
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  3. The beautiful stillness | Defeat Despair
  4. A delightful society | Defeat Despair

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