Managing your sewing & quilting library collection

Much discussion went back and forth on the CREATE2014 ICAP board about managing our personal magazine collections.  I think a lot of it has to do with how one utilizes magazines in his/her creative arts endeavors.  I use magazines for inspiration and ideas.  I keep them for about 3-6 months and either (1) pass the magazine along to a quilty friend or (2) tear out the pages that inspire me.  These pages are either filed away or encased in a plastic holder and put in a 3 ring binder.  I take the remaining parts to school for use in various student projects.

As much as I love print products, I have personally moved the bulk of my magazine subscriptions to a digital format where available.  I read them on my NOOK HD or on my MacBook Pro using a NOOK or Kindle app. Most, if not all of the electronic publications, offer pattern pages on their websites for a free download.  I do have a handful of magazines that are intact and remain part of my permanent collection.  These are housed magazine bins that you can buy at any office supply store or IKEA.

Every so often, it is essential that you cull your books and magazines.  If not, your reading matter stash is going to rival the fabric stash!  Yes, I hate to get rid of books as much as the next person, but it’s an essential part in the care and feeding of a collection. Donate items to your quilt guild, ASG chapter or Friends of the public library.  Gift the books to newbie stitchers. Trade the books in at a place like Charles & 2nd or McCray’s books so you can buy other books.  Donate the books to Goodwill.  Try to sell them on Etsy or Ebay.  If the book is dog chewed, mildewed or otherwise falling apart – please do everyone a favor and throw it in the trash!I

As I work as a children’s librarian in my day job, it should come as no surprise that I have one bookcase full of nothing but sewing and quilting titles.  I weeded my collection prior to our move last summer.  Last month, I donated a number of older titles to my quilt guild’s fledgling library.  I will probably donate more after spring break.  My books are cataloged using Library Thing.  They are arranged on the shelf by subject – general quilting, machine quilting, kids sewing, garment sewing, business, home dec, techniques, etc.  No way am I going to put Dewey numbers on the books!

My personal collection also includes a handful of vintage sewing books that I collect as a hobby.  One of the classes I’d love to take is an archival course on antique book repair.  That’s not something that was taught via distance learning when I was in library school.  You Tube is great for general repairs, but antique books are a little trickier.


One thought on “Managing your sewing & quilting library collection

  1. When you consider how much money we put into our book collections, you can see it’s important to catalog them, one way or another. I have about 100 quilting books, modest by some standards. If I wanted to replace them all (after a catastrophe, for example,) it might cost $2,000, give or take. If I want to make an insurance claim, I HAVE TO KNOW what is on those shelves!

    Even if all you do is make a list in an email to yourself, in Excel, or in some other product, it’s an exercise worth doing.

    My list is not quite up to date, so that’s a task I need to plan for soon…


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