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Virtual Coffee with a Curator Program - Personal Libraries


Virtual Coffee with a Curator Program - Personal Libraries
Virtual Coffee with a Curator Program - Personal Libraries

All Those Books You’ve Bought but Haven’t Read? There’s a Word for That

"I own far more books than I could possibly read over the course of my remaining life, yet every month I add a few dozen more to my shelves. For years I felt guilty about this situation, until I read an article by Jessica Stillman on the website of the magazine Inc. titled “Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You’ll Ever Have Time to Read.” Stillman argued that a personal library too big to get through in a lifetime “isn’t a sign of failure or ignorance,” but rather “a badge of honor.” Her argument was a variation on a theme put forth by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his 2007 best seller “The Black Swan,” a book about the outsize impact on our lives of large, unpredictable events. In essence, Taleb claims that although people tend to place a higher value on the things they know than on the things they don’t know, it is the things we don’t know, and therefore can’t see coming, that tend to shape our world most dramatically.

A person’s library is often a symbolic representation of his or her mind. A man who has quit expanding his personal library may have reached the point where he thinks he knows all he needs to and that what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him. He has no desire to keep growing intellectually. The man with an ever-expanding library understands the importance of remaining curious, open to new ideas and voices.

Taleb argues that a personal library “should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates and the currently tight real-estate market allow you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.” .. from the article: All Those Books You’ve Bought but Haven’t Read? There’s a Word for That



Virtual Coffee with a Curator Program - Personal Libraries

"This is a recording of the Bentley Rare Book Museum's Virtual Coffee with a Curator program on August 30, 2023. During this session, attendees discussed the importance of personal libraries. This session also highlighted a personal library recently acquired by the Bentley Rare Book Museum - the Doris Preston Ramsay Book Collection." from video introduction


"Housed within the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books at Kennesaw State University, the Bentley Rare Book Museum serves as a University and community resource on the history and significance of the written and printed word.

The Bentley Rare Book Museum preserves and makes available a diverse collection of manuscripts, rare books, and fine press materials used in teaching and research. Through the development of course curriculum and assignments, workshops, lectures, exhibitions, and community outreach, the Museum engages diverse audiences and provides educational experiences.."


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