Repost: “What Does Your Library Say About You?”

In reflecting back on the year that has just closed and paging through my old blog posts, I found one that was by far and away the favorite of my readers. I thought I’d share it with you all again, so here is a re-post of my most popular article:

Imagine that a complete stranger walked into your house when you were away. As they walked past your bookshelves and gazed at the choice books that you selected to occupy them, what conclusions would they draw about the kind of person your are? What is the message your books send?

Henry Van Till once said “Culture is religion externalized”. Your religion is proclaimed by the culture you create in your life and in your home, and one of the most bold revelations¬† of your worldview and what you deem important is your library (or the lack thereof).

All over America you can see shelves of books that amount to nothing more that fluff, indoctrinated history, cheap romances, mindless escapism, immoral “classics”, entertainment, poor art, and a bad writing style.¬† The message that those books whisper are “I’m here to relax”, “I need to escape from work and life”, I’m addicted to the thrill of mental romance affairs”, ” I have no higher goal in life than to entertain myself, fantasize, and dream”…..and so on.

Once upon a time that was not so.

The libraries of our founding fathers and mothers were nation changing libraries of individuals who had a distinct purpose in life, principled men and women with goals who amassed books filled with the knowledge and resources to carry out their plans and educate themselves.

As a Christian woman I want my library to be stocked with tools to help me carry out my missions and plans. And to be a worthy collection of high quality books that will stand the test of time and last for generations among my friends and descendants.¬† I want to fill my library with books that will delight a vigorous mind and well disciplined tastes; volumes on history, theology, culture, music, law, art, science, biographies, economics, warfare, education, etiquette, practical skills, and a well stocked stack of reference materials to assist in the art of writing, along with a choice selection of great, inspiring fiction and literature. The kind of library that would state “I have an exciting and grand purpose in life”, “The world will be different because of my life”, “I’m not here to dream and drift with the tides”, “Here there be dragons…and dragon slayers!”, “I’m changing culture”, “My time is too valuable to waste”, “I delight in work and dominion” etc.

In short, a library filled with the kind of books that leave our stranger with the impression that the house’s occupant surely must be away on important business or an outstanding adventure.

Your books do speak. They tell people:

Who you admire.

What you value.

What your tastes are.

What you believe.

What you aspire to in life.

One does not need to be a Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple to deduce those things.


What does your library say about you?