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A Library’s Home, by McKenzie Heileman

This post is part of 805's “My Home Library” series that features writers and artists enjoying their home libraries during the pandemic and beyond.


When several piles of books fell over in the middle of the night, waking me and my significant other, I told him I would pare down on the books the next day. He fell back asleep, satisfied, and I troubled that I would have to part with so many beloved stories.


So today, I sized up my bookshelf.


Since the pandemic has forced a shutdown of many public libraries, including my own, I took to buying any book I wanted to read instead of borrowing it from the library, like I would normally do.


These constant purchases have led my bookshelf to overflowing. Books were lovingly shoved into every crevice the bookshelf has to offer and, eventually, books piled onto the floor, like puddles. Books travelled further than the bookshelf itself, too. I stacked books on my nightstand, bundled them into baskets, and heaped them on and under my desk. It seemed there was a book in every corner, every nook, and every opening. There wasn’t a place I deemed unacceptable for a book to be, except maybe the bathroom.


I would have to let go of at least twenty books in order to make the remaining ones fit into a reasonable space. At first, I was terribly disheartened, finding something to love about each book I picked up.


But, as I worked, and became more rational about the books I had actually read and loved versus the ones I hadn’t read in the past year, setting them aside to be donated felt good. I knew somebody other than me would see the book’s spine or cover and take an interest in what lay inside.

These books would find a bookshelf to claim as their own, rather than lying around unknown and unacknowledged in a house whose owner just couldn’t seem to find the time to open them.


They would now have cracked spines, evident of the attention doted upon them. They would now have dog-eared pages, showing how much a reader connected with a line. They would now have worn, soft covers, obvious how often someone brushed their fingers over it in adoration.


They would, very simply, be loved.


McKenzie Heileman is a graduate of Boise State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and was a journalist for the university's newspaper. She has spent her whole life reading, writing, and studying. McKenzie lives and works out of her home in Boise, Idaho, where she spends her free time reading and knitting.


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