When it comes to building a personal library or collection, sometimes people’s choices on what to collect are shaped by the style of the homes they live in, the bookshelves they build, or the ones that were already built into the home. If you are a new collector, this might be the case. Those who own traditional homes with fine or detailed wood bookshelves may desire to collect fine bindings or perhaps collect more modern books but put them in a fine leather protective clamshell box. Sometimes for more decorative purposes, people get caught up into buying Easton Press or Franklin Library Editions. Although these books are pretty and you can easily fill your library quickly, these books are not for the true collector, as they are not the original editions and by buying these types of books, it is my opinion that you lose the joy of building the collection yourself. It is like purchasing a reproduction antique.
More often, for the true collector both the home and their library collection is a reflection of who the person is. Those who appreciate the past and all that we gain by understanding history may have a more historic home and library, and also may enjoy collecting truly antiquarian books. Those with more of a modern flair may have a more modern home or unusual bookshelves and may also have the inclination to collect more modern literature, photography, and architecture books or landmarks books of the past century or so. Obviously this is a grand generalization and there are many people and homes that have a large and complimentary mix of both modern and antique.
Here are some images of many different kinds of bookshelves and libraries. Some are more modern and unique and some are more traditional. We hope these images inspire you to think about your own library or how you want to shape your personal collection.
These rooms are filled to the max with books. When I see images like these I try to imagine who the person is behind the library. Although we can’t see the titles, we can guess they are lovers of knowledge.
content with common opinion, but soars with undimmed and unwearied
passion till he grasps the essential nature of things.”
Henry Ward Beecher
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them
– Norman Cousins
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
–Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory