Home libraries and reading rooms come in all shapes and sizes. They often serve as more than just a place to store books and hanging the occasional framed picture. A home library is a place for everyone in the family to unplug and enjoy a good book, or perhaps do a little research.
Though books come in all different sizes, weights, and colors. Without some basic organization, a home library or reading room can gradually fall into chaos.
Organizing Your Books
If you have an extensive collection of books in your home library, then you might be contemplating the best way to organize them. If you have a degree in library science you could simply organize them according to the Dewey Decimal System. Though most laymen find this kind of meticulous organization to be overboard for a home library.
Organizing them alphabetically by the author is another easy way to be able to find a book. Though you end up with shelves that are far from being coordinated by color or size. Especially if you have a collection of paperbacks and hardcovers.
Organizing your books by subject matter might be better for you if you have themed collections or you are a big fan of specific genres. This might also be preferable if you will be using a significant portion of your home library for research or keeping industry trade publications.
While you are at it, take into account room for your collection to expand. Most people with home libraries continue to add new volumes over time. Paperback novels for reading on a rainy day tend to need less available room for expansion than research volumes and trade journals.
Choosing A Shelving System For Your Home Library
Once you’ve chosen your preferred organization method, you can start considering how to shelve your collection.
Tend to be more traditional, and some people will choose them just for the look and feel. Many people want that classic “Library” feel and have the space to accommodate it. The tradeoff with static shelves is that you lose versatility and often sacrifice a lot of vertical space. Especially if your collection has books of differing sizes and height.
Can be set up to look very much like static shelves at first glance. Though most tend to use some type of rail or dowel system to let you adjust the shelves for maximum storage space. As needed, you can quickly adjust the height of each shelf to the height of the tallest book. This type of system can certainly help you store the highest possible volume of books.
Though while they can still support a lot of books, adjustable shelves don’t have the same weight per shelf as static shelves. To compensate for this, you can use shorter shelves. Not only will this ensure that your books are properly supported, but you can adjust different sections for more space efficiency.
Shelf Dividers & Book Ends
Shelf dividers and bookends are a great way to accommodate the future expansion of popular subjects, without leaving a ton of empty space at the end of each shelf. You often see this in professional and public libraries.
Many people with a home library will choose to use bookends or book stops repurposed from heavy pieces of artwork, like small figurines or vases. Though you do take this route, take a little extra time to make sure that the art piece is relatively safe from the inevitable flip of the book at the end of the shelf. The last thing you want is a prized vase getting knocked off the shelf when a book or two shifts unexpectedly.
Storage For Outdated Or Less Used Books
Some books may have once been part of your collection that no longer have a good place in your expanded home library. Some are older books that have discolored or are a visual eyesore compared to the rest of your collection. This is also a possible issue if your home library has research journals and industry trade publications that are out of date but might still be needed for references later on.
There are a few ways to keep these lesser-used books close at hand without giving them an active presence on your bookshelves.
Reading Bench Storage
Many reading rooms and home libraries have some type of comfortable bench near or build into a window. Not only is this a good place to curl up with a good book, but it could also be a prime place for overflow book storage. A section of the seat can flip out or tastefully designed cabinet doors can be installed into the front. This gives you quick access to stored books without having to have them out for all the world to see.
This is another convenient option for keeping certain books out of sight, yet close at hand. You can install heavy-duty shelves or stackable totes to hold overflow books and unused journals. Though it’s wise to keep a notebook with an accurate inventory. That way you can find what you need without having to sort through a maze of totes or shelves.
This is a heavy-duty solution that really isn’t the sort of thing the average do-it-yourselfer can tackle on their own. If you have significant space in your home library, bookshelves can be installed on sliding rails and moved left and right like panels.
Proper Lighting For A Home Library
Proper lighting is very important in a home library, both for reading and display purposes. Being able to control natural light with heavy “Blackout” curtains or blinds lets you block out natural light when you don’t want it, yet you can open them again at a moment’s notice to flood the room with invigorating sunshine.
Overhead lighting is also very important. Recessed lights and track lighting let you control the flow of light throughout the library. Most can be attached to some type of dimmer switch to let you set the ambiance of the room. Though most people feel that overhead lighting simply isn’t enough to complete a library’s lighting system.
Lamps and accent lights like directional LED fixtures let you highlight key areas. This includes lighting for key reading areas throughout the library or accenting high-value books that are on display.
Lamps are also handy for lighting desks and countertops. They’re especially handy if you are going to be using the home library as an office space or for doing research. Soft white bulbs tend to be easier on the eyes when reading compared to daylight bulbs or other settings.