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« Linking about: The Pilgrim's Progress | Main | What we like »

October 02, 2006


bob mcmanus


For years, I have been telling the lady the hall is only 18 feet long, and there is no reason we can't sidle down it sideways.


The oven is a bad idea. I have it on good authority from a grad school friend of mine who stuffed some books along with various work-in-progress papers inside the stove only to have them toast when a helpful friend preheated the oven for some party food one evening. . . .

Jonathan Dresner

First time we lived in Japan, in the '80s, we had a beautifully designed double-layer bookcase. The back layer was full width, with two 1/3rd width bookcases mounted on the front of it on slides so you could access the entire back section 1/3 at a time.

Never seen them in the US, that I can recall, but if you have a favorite carpenter....


I know that there used to be a book store in Dutchess county (NY) that was an actual barn, so I vote for that.
If you're collecting votes.


In my building, an apartment was remodeled by removing the kitchen appliances and installing a tiny kitchenette in a closet, freeing up the former kitchen for other uses. My favorite among your options, however, is building a barn. You could rent the ground floor space as a garage and put the books upstairs.


You have more books, but I have more cats. Thus, lining my house with bookshelves is...well, not wise (I have one feline who feels that anything that can be climbed SHOULD be climbed, and anything that can be knocked over SHOULD be...and another who thinks shredding paper a fascinating pastime). Recently I succumbed to pressure and did two things -- scoured my books for those I didn't really love or even like much for resale or donation, and to go through paperbacks, putting everything I'd read into a plastic, archival quality bag and then into storage boxes (with a written list of what each box contained in another bag taped to the lid). The boxes go on a bottom shelf, and I can get about 4 times the storage yet still get to the book. And no dents from being knocked down or damage from particular hobbiest felines.

Yes, I know, it's sacriledge to box one's books, but I'd rather have them safe and make room for new books. I haven't any resources for adding more space -- 6 cats, you know, and a whole husband.

I'm using Bookography to list my library, because I love, love, LOVE the ISBN code scanner. I'm hovering around 2200 books so far. Still two sets of shelves and a pile of new acquisitions to enter.

Oh does not matter

Just burn your library down. The solution worked so well for the library of Alexandria. As an evidance, I bring forward the zero complaints about hte lack of bookshelf space in this library in the last 1600 years. No point inventing new solution when there is an old tested solution that already works.

Timothy Burke

I still haven't gotten to the 1,500-2,000 or so books in the basement, so I'm stalled at the moment just below 3,000 on LibraryThing. The bookshelf thing is a real problem. I've been building my own, and learning woodwork as I go--the last one wasn't half-bad. But it's only gaining me about two shelves per unit (I'm building them taller and bigger than our current cheap-o shelves) and it definitely will not serve to get everything out of the boxes in the basement. So I don't really know what to do at that point, as we'll be out of space for any more shelves. In the long run, I'm hoping to build an addition to our house with one of the two new rooms being an office/library with built-in shelving, but that's some years away. We've tried to get more aggressive about getting rid of books, but as a historian I have an especial aversion to that, because some books become interesting in a new way once they lose whatever made them interesting in the first place.

George Kelley

The only REAL solution is to buy a bigger house. I have a collection of about 17,000 volumes on shelves in my gigantic basement (the weight would be too much for the floors on the first floor).

The Roaring Girl

I like the idea of using the books to prop up furniture. While I was working on my dissertation, I kept all my research in and under a TV cart since my other bookshelves were full. I became so accustomed to seeing the books there that I actually missed them quite a bit when I finally returned them to the library.


Have you considered rows? We did this once in our smaller house in Beer Sheva. One room looked pretty much like a library, but that way books can go back to back on the same shelf.


In his modesty, George Kelley (above) neglects to mention that he gave many thousands of his books and magazines to the SUNY-Buffalo library. Which keeps them in the basement.

The "building stacks" method worked for me when I occupied a tiny apartment (with a spouse and 1.3 cats). Couple of short bookcases behind the couch, helping to make a division between the LR and DR, and a favorite place for the cats to hop up on.

Now I have a 960 square foot apt, which seems to accommodate all our books, of which I think it likely there are about 6,000.


Very inventive shelving solutions, LP. Going underground worked for the NYPL; now if you could get Linden Miller to do your landscaping, install free Wi-Fi, and open a coffee kiosk, you could be Bryant Park North.

The mixed blessing of returned books: I work in a library that circulates books only to certain institutional staff, but to them on an essentially eternal basis. While in principle and for emotional reasons we would like to gather up all our library's books in our metaphorical arms, we also see that we have no place to put those 30,000 (estimated) volumes.

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