My study space and book collection

I’ve enjoyed following the #PhDshelfie hashtag on Twitter for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is reassuring to know my study space isn’t the only way strewn with books. I’ve really enjoyed looking at a whole range of #phdtablie and #phdfloorie too! Perhaps I can use these as evidence for what doctoral study looks like when my fiancé comments on the number of books everywhere… Secondly, well. It links to my research.

I’ve spent a lot of time writing about libraries. With these hashtags, it’s been possible to get precious glimpses into the personal libraries of other students. Each of these photos tells a story. Not just of the books collected: but why they were collected, how they’re organised and who owns them (there are a few university library stamps out there). It’s also interesting to see where they’re stored. Some, all neat on a shelf. Others stacked on the floor or desks in use. Sometimes organised organically. Sometimes thematically. Sometimes chronologically. The placement and organisation gives in glimpse into the mind placing them.

This evening, as a break from writing about other libraries, I’m going to write about my own. While I’ve already tweeted these pictures, I’m posting them here again with more of a narrative. You’ll also note these are a bit better quality for the daylight.

The journey starts with the top three shelves of my primary bookshelf. This houses most of the academic books that I am using a the present. The top shelf here contains journals that I subscribe to. This includes:

  • Studies in Higher Education
  • SRHE Abstracts
  • Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
  • The Geographical Journal

While most people read journals online, I like subscribing to a few. It stops me falling into the trap of just reading stuff related to my current research. As soon as a journal arrives, I read the list of titles and abstracts. When I get the time, I’ll read through articles too. As high impact journals, these volumes are a great way to keep on top of the developments in geography and higher education. Once I’ve had the first skim, they get filed on these shelves alongside the National Geographic which is decidedly less academic. Of course, this shelf has the globe bookend too. Kinda felt apt.

The next two shelves are a mix of geography, philosophy and higher education monographs and textbooks. There is a smattering of psychology in here too. I wish they were a little more ordered, but everything is kind of where it fit… the lower shelf if a bit taller and has room for the larger books. A few of my favourites are here:

Further down the shelf (out of shot) are a range of popular science books and even my undergraduate work. I’ve found it difficult to get rid of that shelf of work as it not only represents three years of my life, but also several thousand pound… This shelf isn’t my whole collection of books. There is a whole other shelf of fiction and manga opposite this one and then a smattering of books throughout the house. Cookery books in the dining area, comics in the living room. That kind of thing.

Now for the study space. Sandwiched between the two shelves in the office, sits my desk. It is NOT big enough. I have a pretty decent computer running Windows 10 that I do most of my writing on, with a MacBook Pro for when I am on the go. Today, I’ve been using it to read my notes in OneNote alongside my typing into Word on the other computer. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of space on the desk for books so they quite often end up on the floor. It’s not a bad place to study and it is probably the best study space I’ve ever had. This of course is not the only place I work and I quite often work within the library, my desk at work and in coffee shops.

As I am at work tomorrow, I think I’m going to leave it at that for now.