Libraries are reservoirs of strength,
grace and wit, reminders of order,
calm and continuity,
lakes of mental energy,
neither warm nor cold,
light nor dark.
The pleasure they give is steady,
deep and long-lasting.
Germaine Greer (1939-____)
Have you ever longed for a private home library…a space where you can have a peaceful spot to relax surrounded by your most treasured books, interesting maps, some favorite pieces of art? A haven of peace in which to think, write, study, or travel to other worlds in a comfortable chair or window seat? For a book lover, it is a necessity. A library can be created in a spare room, an attic or hallway space, or a corner of an existing room; it can be traditional, modern, or funky; it can be combined with a home office. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune; it can be owner-built or assembled from interesting shelving and furniture found on the cheap. Most important, it should reflect the personality and needs of its primary owner and provide safe and attractive storage for books.
Here is the library at Old Scrolls Book Shop (our home and used/rare book business!).
Ron, my husband, custom-made these built-in bookcases from red oak lumber. The shelves are 13” deep (9” – 10” is probably sufficient for most libraries). We like the corner effect, because you can easily add more book space by moving the books back a bit on the shelves, which expands the number of books the corner can accommodate.
A sturdy library ladder is essential if your bookcases are tall. Ron built this one (above) from a photo I showed him. It is especially useful when the cat is not having a nap on it.
A good desk is important, especially if your office space is in the library. Ron built this desk (below) from wood we reclaimed from an old grainery in our barn.
And here is the rear wing of our house (formerly a “summer kitchen,”) with movable book cases. Movable book cases can be obtained in a wide variety of styles and price ranges; the advantage is that you can re-arrange them, place them in a different room, take them with you if you move.
This is a recessed book case Ron built into the upstairs hallway made from reclaimed barn lumber. Any house has room for a private book collection!
There is room at the end of this hall for a desk near a window, a chair, and additional free standing cases, which makes the upstairs hall a small library in itself.
We hope this will help inspire you to go forth and create your own unique home library, and have a lifetime of enjoyment collecting books that will enrich your life!
Here are some links to interesting ideas and images on home library design: