is an associate production editor at Aeon+Psyche. She studied philosophy and human ecology at the Australian National University in Canberra and is working toward an MA in writing and publishing from RMIT University in Melbourne. Her writing has appeared in Kill Your Darlings, Overland and Readings Monthly.
According to Cicero, if you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need. While one might argue that there are some more prosaic needs that must be satisfied before either a library or a garden becomes a top priority, I do appreciate Cicero’s sentiment. And I know I’m not alone. While working in bookshops over the course of a decade, I met plenty of people who care a great deal about the books they read, and many who also find value in the idea of the library itself: that wild, sprawling and chaotic – or, perhaps, methodical, logical and organised – thing that emerges through the accumulation of books over time.
What distinguishes a library from a random pile of books is the considered process of curation. In a public library, it’s the librarian’s role to build a collection that responds to the needs of the community it serves. In the case of your personal library, it serves a community of one – you – and you are both the reader and the librarian. This means that your library won’t look the same as anyone else’s.