You might think that with the stratospheric rise of tablet computing that physical libraries are becoming a thing of the past. But – as lot of bookworms agree – there’s something far more wholesome and satisfying about indexing through hard copies than there is about tapping a search into iBooks or Amazon and hitting download. Libraries are place to sit, relax, learn and contemplate. They’re also brilliant for families. So if a Home Library sounds like your ultimate wise-up-whilst-chilling-out kind of space you’ll like this particular blog entry – because we’ve got four handy pointers in how to set one up…
Whilst we know it’s unlikely you’ll be donning a burgundy quilted dressing gown and enjoying coffee and a danish over a chapter of The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair this Sunday morning, you might still enjoy a good read. And, although it is likely that your children will superficially insist they’d far prefer to play Minion Rush than get engrossed in the latest Alex Rider – it’s also likely that once they’ve turned the page they’ll find Anthony Horowitz’s teen-spy thriller far more captivating than the phonetically challenged yellow henchmen.
Fiction or Non-fiction – whatever your interest there’s something in print to suit every taste. But with that comes the need to store and organise – et voila – you need some form of home library. Here’s how to go about setting one up:
It makes sense to begin simply by looking at the space you’re prepared to give up for your library. Unless you live in a mansion (and very few of us do in London) the space available is unlikely to amount to much more than the footprint of a bookcase or two. Clever thinking at this stage might incorporate any odd shaped voids or awkward corners in the dimensions of your room. Also look at wall space. You might find you can install shelving in some innovative places such as above doors and stairwells (as long as they are within reach).
2. Design, Fixtures and Fittings
Once you’ve got the space mapped out, look at the shelving you’ll need. It might be as straightforward as putting together a couple of self-assembly bookcases – or you might find you need to get the local handyman in to fashion something more bespoke in an awkward corner. If you do decide to use the higher wall space you could find yourself needing a library ladder to access them.
How about making your library more exciting with the fittings? You could get creative with the bookends: how about a pair of those pesky Minions velcroed to some standard stainless steel book stops, or if you’re more Tony Hart’s Gallery than Gru’s ‘Light Bulb’ moments then maybe Morph and Chas can do your book supporting legwork.
3. Organisation & Title Variety
Your range of interests will likely dictate how simple or complicated the organisation of your books needs to be. At the basic level there’s the Fiction/Non-fiction split. Beyond that – and depending on just how many interests and books are reflected in your collection – you might want to use a classification system.
If you really want to follow the rules then the Dewey Decimal Classification system is worth a look – but if all you’ve got is a 3 or 4 shelves you could invent your own. Top shelf for Mum’s Fifty Shades style stuff, second shelf for Dad’s cars, bikes and thrillers, 3rd shelf for No 1 son’s Horowitz and 4th shelf for youngest child’s Flat Stanley et al… that sort of thing.
4. Stock Rotation
Like all good libraries you may find that your collection exceeds the space you’ve made available. You might need additional storage or archive space. That might be a loft, a store cupboard or the corner of a dry garage. If none of those are available it could be one of our storage units. Whichever you choose it makes sense to ensure you catalogue into clearly labelled boxes (we can help with them too!).
So there you have it, and the next time someone refers to Professor Plum, in the Library – you’ll know it’s not with a bit of lead pipe – it’s with a hardback copy of War and Peace.