Any books about home library design?

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Any books about home library design?

Ene 8, 4:35pm

I'm looking for books on home library design, specifically more traditional or old-fashioned libraries.

A precursory search reveals a lot of books that will have pictures of other people's libraries, or deep intellectual discussions about arranging everything by colour instead of subject, but that's not what I'm looking for.

I want a sort of practical design manual for home libraries:

-What are the advantages of this wood over that wood for shelving?
-What sort of furniture is recommended and why?
-Which of the cardinal directions should the library have windows facing for best reading light?
-Should libraries even HAVE windows, given that UV light damages books?
-What are the risks and benefits of a fireplace?
-What styles of paneling are traditional?
-What styles of ceiling are traditional?
-How can ladders be incorporated?
-What are good heights and depths of shelves?
-How can oversized volumes be integrated well with smaller ones?
-Pros and cons of open shelving vs. closed shelving?
-How should the library be ventilated?
-What are the environmental hazards to books such as mold, insects, flooding, and how best to prevent them?
-In what manner and how frequently should books be dusted or cleaned?

All this sort of thing. Basically I'm looking for a traditional library design bible that contains a lot of hard-won wisdom and actual knowledge, not just a cataloguing of recent fads. The closest thing I've seen is something like "The Country House Library", but even that seems to be more a historical catalogue than an actual manual with good advice for traditional library upkeep and design.

Does anyone know of anything? I suppose there must have been something published in the 1800s that's along the lines of what I'm searching for.

Ene 9, 9:52am

Well, there is W. E. Gladstone's essay On Books and the Housing of Them. It's available in the public domain, and it may have some of what you are looking for, but probably not the level of detail that you desire.

Ene 9, 10:51am

There's The book on the bookshelf, which is part history of books and book-storage and part engineering: probably not a complete match to what you're looking for, but there might be some useful leads in the bibliography.
Petroski often refers to John Willis Clark's The care of books from 1901.

Ene 9, 10:55am

If you want to see the fruition of Gladstone's ideas about housing books for yourself you can stay in the B&B attached to his library in North Wales. It's on my post-Covid bucket list.

Editado: Ene 9, 2:14pm

>3 thorold:

Petroski does have a very brief but helpful section (really several paragraphs) on book height, shelving spans, and wood types. But the rest of the book wasn't specific about the sort of construction design mentioned in the OP. It raised the types of questions I was looking for, but didn't really answer them, certainly not exhaustively. I worked with my carpenter on solutions, but my library project was much more modest than that suggested in OP.

Other sites I found useful:
The woodbin discussion is quite good and contains further references at the end. I didn't notice any books, though.

Ene 9, 3:24pm

You can try LT's new official group for members to ask for book recommendations:

Ene 11, 7:05pm

Wow, these are really helpful. Thanks very much, all.

Mayo 10, 4:45pm

Some of the criteria given such as UV exposure are better understood in a modern context.

If a window towards the equator (south for most of us) is necessary, it may be important to provide shutters or curtains that keep it closed from outside light most of the time. UV-blocking film or window material may also be a good idea. Any direct sunlight is likely to fade items.

Even on windows that face other directions can have enough light to cause damage. Glass, Lexan, and OP-3 will each block some UV but perhaps not enough.

Keeping the lights off except when you are in the room is probably a good idea as well.

When I read essays (usually not whole books) on home library design, there is often more concern given to fireplaces or smoking in the room.

Likewise, over time there will be differences in opinions of the kind of shelf materials to be used. For example a traditional looking library will have wood shelves. Shellac or varnish were common coatings of wood a century or more ago. But what is the acid content of these? How do they compare with modern polyurethane?

I have read some circulating libraries advocate for metal shelving being superior to wood.

On recent cases we had built for our new home, we used plywood shelves (for strength) with oak veneer.

So a lot of this is — are you looking for the practices of the past or the recommendations for today?

Often people want the look of the past with modern protections.