Friday, August 14, 2009

Organizing Bookshelves

I am an avid reader, and keeping my books in good condition and ready to hand has been a life long project. As an artist, I have also had many opportunities to acquire interesting objects throughout my career. In the process of organizing my home, I realized I wanted my favorites to be out where I could see and enjoy them, rather than packed in boxes. Once I had sold or donated everything I didn't really care for I needed a way to display my collection.

Slowly, over many years, I have gone through my book collection, being honest with myself about what books I would never read again and which had no value to me. There are many places that will take donated books. The Library of course, but also your local jail or prison will take paperbacks. Now I had sufficient room and shelves to exhibit my most precious and beloved books.

Stacking some books on their sides provided more shelf room as well as an interesting visual contrast to the upright books. I also laid some larger books on their sides to create a niches for some of my most attractive and unique items. Some items are placed on the shelf in front of the books, but not so many that either dusting or reaching getting out a book is a problem.

The taller bookcase is dedicated to fiction, the smaller, darker bookcase has my spiritual and theological books. If you have very tall shelves, place the books you use the most where they are easy to reach.


  1. This is an interesting idea. I like the visual variation of books at two angles.

    However, with my own books I have enough of them that I've had to resort to Dewey Decimal System numbering to keep track.

    Also, if they're laid flat it's difficult to pull one from the shelf without taking the whole stack or pulling them out of order. How should one resolve that?

  2. I've never had too many problems with getting a book out of a stack. If they're too tight, I take the top book off. Then I lift the rest from above the one I want, with one hand over them,which keeps them from falling out.

    If you don't like stacking books flat, and are handy with tools, adjust the bookshelf height and add extra shelves for the paper backs.That way you are not wasting space between the tops of the books and the next shelf.