Being your own librarian

Many public libraries began as private collections. Being a regular public library user never stopped anyone building up their own library –rather the opposite, in fact. Jacques Bonnet calls this “recreating a sort of public library for your own private use”. Managing such private libraries raises the same challenges as institutional libraries: sorting, shelving, and defining an acquisitions policy, although the fact that the library is private allows the owner much greater leeway in acting as his own librarian. It is clear that such “private librarians” must conserve and maintain their collections, although other roles, such as weeding (now a common practice in public libraries), cataloguing, and lending are less significant in a private setting.