Monday, 18 June 2007

My Library: How To Organise?

If you are like me, a bibliophile, I would like to know how your organise your library.

But since I returned home from the UK last October, I have greatly reduced my visits to the bookstores (well, let me put it this way - I was "richer" as a student, at least I have a larger book budget allocated for me...but as a seminary lecturer...well....let's not go into this!)

I am not sure how Alex Tang does it, but judging from his monthly book hunting quests which he describes as one of his favourite activities (make sure you check out the piles and piles of books he acquired in just one trip to the bookstores in Singapore), one can only imagine that he must have designed a large special room in his home to house his invaluable asset!

Another "partner-in-crime," Pearlie, kind of "blamed" me for her indulgence in the recent Evangel sale (make sure you check out which is her favourite aisle in one of the local bookstores! I wonder whether she deliberately brought along a camera to a bookstore?!)

I do not have a "system" in organising my library, i.e., I do not follow the Library of Congress or the Dewey systems. This is what I generally do for my collection in biblical studies:


  • I tend to group commentaries according to its canonical book order - but I do run into some problems. For example, most NT commentaries do not have a single volume on Colossians, but they include Philemon. I'd just place them in my collection on Colossians Another problem is what does one do with multi-volume commentaries? For example, there are 5 volumes in the Expositor's Bible Commentary series. In this case, it does not really fit into the commentaries based on individual books. So I decided to put them together in a series.

Hebrew Bible

  • This is followed by my collection of the Hebrew Bible - I don't have much problem with this as my collection for this "forgotten" testament is somehow limited...

NT Studies

I group the NT studies into several categories:

  • Greek Grammars

  • Textual Issues

  • Hermeneutics/Biblical Interpretation

  • Introduction to the NT

  • NT Background

  • Biblical Theology

  • Gospels

  • Jesus Studies

  • Pauline Studies

  • Thematic Studies that do not seem to fall into any of the categories above, such as the Use of OT in the NT; Mission in the NT; Ethics, etc.

Well, as you can see, what I do for my collection is rather arbitrary.

If you have other ideas, do let me know!


rccnlj said...

*cheeky grin* Now I know how to source for what in your library... kekeke

pearlie said...

If you are like me, a bibliophile
Now I know what I am. Don't even start, I can go on forever!!!

I wonder whether she deliberately brought along a camera to a bookstore?!
It was my phone camera ler... not bad eh?

My mini library is in a mess now. I used to roughly sort them by author but was trying to sort them by genre - result? Total mess!

Kar Yong said...

Hi Pearlie, used your phone camera...hahaha...see lah..I am using such an old phone (well, you'd remember I recently lost mine...but found another old phone in the house that I am currently using) that it didn't occur to me that there is such thing called "phone camera" ketinggalan zaman...

pearlie said...

Now the standard question is not "Do you have a phone camera?" but "How many megapixel ah yours?"
hehe :รพ

Kar Yong said...


Well, it is the same with's not "Which commentary on Romans do you have/read?", but "Do you have/read Robert Jewett's commentary?"!!

Kar Yong said...


Oh yes, if you notice, I've been practising restrain in asking you to go to Glad Sounds clearance sale at Luther House...

pearlie said...

haha .. have you done it again! And Luther house is quite near my office that I can drop in too but the thing is I don't have a car this week or next. So you are safe!

Ok, we are even. You don't have a phone camera and I have no idea who Robert Jewett is! So if you get a phone camera, you MUST let me know because then I would have to get Robert Jewett.

Kar Yong said...


Well, Pearlie, Bob Jewett's commentary has just been published in the Hermeneia series last year. It is probably the most comprehensive commentary on Romans ever published. It's cheaper than a new camera mobile US$90 only!!

Had the privilege of having breakfast with Bob the morning after my viva!

I'm waiting for the library to get a copy.