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.

“The true lover of knowledge naturally strives for truth, and is not
content with common opinion, but soars with undimmed and unwearied
passion till he grasps the essential nature of things.”
Plato

I imagine that the owner of these shelves is someone who likes to have fun… and one of the books says this right on the cover.
angular bookcases.jpg
These beautiful shelves speaks of someone who is serious about their library.
A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life.
Henry Ward Beecher
This room is a comfortable library/study that anyone in the family would enjoy spending time in.
These shelves are a work of art in and of themselves.
These bookcases are fairly standard and not extremely ornate. The thing I like about this room is that they have
taken what looks like to be a small space and made it into a full library.
Even small homes can have a large library.
Also, the windows have thick curtains, which can be closed to protect the spines from fading.
Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations.
– Henry David Thoreau

120408builtin_bookshelves.jpg
Books to the ceiling,
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
–Arnold Lobel

Creating an interesting pattern like this for your shelves also solves the problem of differing size books,
especially if you collect photography or architecture.
A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life.
– Norman Cousins

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

–Frederick Douglass

Although these bookshelves are very interesting and modern, you would not want to store your rare books in this fashion.
Information is the currency of democracy.

– Thomas Jefferson

To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul. – Cicero

As the biggest library if it is in disorder is not as useful as a small but well-arranged one, so you may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value than a much smaller amount if you have not thought it over for yourself.
Arthur Schopenhauer
Libraries can also be a work of art unto themselves.
bookshelves as art
We hope that you have enjoyed these images and quotes and that you continue to enjoy planning and building your own library.
So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray,
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