Welcome to my library

February 27, 2015

At this point in my life, I am supposed to be downsizing, right? Not adding to my collections of stuff. And I have made a lot of headway in getting rid of unnecessary clothes, kitchen gadgets, multiple sets of dishes, and extraneous papers and photos. But I do make an exception for two things -- teacups and books.

Storage for the books was getting to be a problem. We had to: 1) stop acquiring books for the rest of our lives, 2) get rid of a pile of books (and our collection is already carefully curated), or 3) get some more bookshelves. Guess what we chose to do?

I am pretty excited about these new bookshelves. We got several in December, and then a few more last week. 

The family room now has a really cozy, library feel to it. Before, it seemed as though the TV dominated the room, and I really disliked that. But now, this baby is the star of the show.

I moved the furniture around so that my favorite chair faces both the fireplace and the wall of books. It's like sitting with a roomful of my favorite friends. C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Elizabeth Goudge, Wendell Berry, Miss Read, Dostoevsky, Dorothy Sayers . . . wise mentors, all.

I have had so much fun organizing and alphabetizing all my books. From left to right I have fiction, then a shelf of poetry and fairy tales, then nonfiction, then my Harvard classics, cookbooks, then all my Christian books, then children's books (only a fraction of what we once had), then a half shelf of Christmas stories, and then some reference books (dictionaries and a set of encyclopedias).

In another corner is a bookshelf that contains all my how-to books, gardening and home decorating, sewing and writing, beauty and style.

In the library (my husband's office) are two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with his books (a lot of political and economic books, as well as his favorite fiction, including John Grisholm, Tom Clancy, Lee Child, etc.) 

Upstairs are four more loaded bookshelves with books that belong to our children, and in the basement more books belonging to our son who lives out of state. I don't count those.

I'm really wondering where I kept all these books before. For weeks as I've been organizing these shelves I have kept running into more, shoved here and there on tables and in piles on the floor and in boxes in closets and in drawers. This is even after having got rid of at least a dozen large boxes of books from our homeschooling days.

The happiest thing about this is the amount of room still left on the shelves! Plenty of room for nice used books from Amazon, Abe Books, and the library sales. (I seldom buy a new book, unless it is a particular classic. Most of the new books have been gifts.)

And just so you know, I use the library a lot. Not every book gets the privilege of being part of this collection!

Ah. I feel quite rich as I sip my tea and gaze at their friendly and wise faces.

Do you collect books, too?


  1. Wowee, Deborah! You must feel so accomplished and happy!
    No, we don't collect books, but we read a LOT. My husband, as you may know, is not into stuff of any kind, so he is now almost exclusively a library loaner. He used to buy and then pass his books along to family. He even emptied his work resource library in Jan (retirement) and gave to another person in his field. I have a some keepers, and I plan to use his bookcase he just unloaded to store them. Mine are homeless, in stacks around the house.
    Great job!

  2. Your new bookshelves look great! You have plenty of room for new additions. Deborah, I hope you really enjoy your library!

  3. Ah such a luxury to have the space to keep all your beloved books! Your shelves look very organized and the books are well displayed.
    We haven't got the space...my husband reads books on his IPad and I am using the public library more often now...have a few shelves in the hobby room but am continually purging them to make room for others.

  4. *sigh* What a divine place in your home, my friend :) Yes, I collect books and still haven't gone to reading books on the computer or Kindle...I love the look and feel of a "real" book too much :)

    I love your library, dear Deborah! Everything looks perfect. Happy weekend. Hugs!

  5. WOWZA!!!! That's awesome- and I love they're all yours - hard to believe that your husband's is somewhere else, haha. Both my husband and I are readers, and we have a small collection of must-owns....but we don't really have a library. I had a library growing up. I would love to have one now, but unless we sell some furniture or finish the basement we just don't have room.

    Do I spy a cute white compote dish amongst your books on your awesome new shelves? : - D

    Well done, ma'am!

  6. Yes we collect books, and not just any book gets to claim a spot in our home. So even though we have a LOT of books, they're books we intend to keep because we might re-read them , and most certainly will need to be used at some time for reference. We have a study with one whole wall covered in floor-to-ceiling shelves, but like you, there are shelves of books in other parts of the house too.

    I love your new library ! ( I'd throw out the t.v. if I had to choose between books and television )

  7. Books and teacups - a woman after my own heart!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  8. Yes, oh yes, DH and I both a collector of books. I 'love' your new library. I'm starting to weed out books now that DH no longer is here, certain books I'll never read, on computers, woodworking etc. I just do a little at a time, no hurry. I'm also going through my own collection and it feels good to be weeding them out.

    Enjoy your library, it is great!


  9. I love your library! How fun to have the new shelving so you can enjoy your books every day. Glad you have some extra room to add more books, too.

  10. Love your library!

    I had an extensive collection before my ex and I split up years ago. After that, with little room here, I just 'collected' old D.E Stevenson books and a few others. Those are stored in a chest. Downstairs ialways has a pile of library books, perhaps something from Goodwill or a thrift store, and here and there a new purchase.

  11. I am the same way about books and tea things! Your shelves are wonderful. Books are such a gift. They keep on giving, too, as we loan them to friends to be encouraged and blessed!


  12. Look at you, Deborah! Your new book shelves are absolutely stunning! You have been a busy busy gal and I'm sure you are feeling wonderful with your accomplishments. :-)
    You have done an exceptional job placing ALL of those books so nicely on the shelves. You must feel as if you are in a library?

    You are making great accomplishments in your life and home, Deborah, congratulations.

    Twice now I have purged my books. They can begin to take over before you know it and our home doesn't really have the room. I have mostly spiritual growth books and poetry, plus the wonderful reading material my girls had during our home schooled years. I kept them for our grand children.

    Have a beautiful week end.

  13. What a wonderful addition those bookshelves make to your room, Deborah! You've arranged them so nicely. I know that looking at them all organized makes you happy. Great job, my friend, and happy reading.

  14. Wow Deborah, I love your library and it look so pretty and nice filled with so many wonderful books! Enjoy the weekend and yes as Kitty said happy reading!

  15. It's wonderful to have enough shelves to hold your books. Yes, we collect books, too, but I'm always sorting and getting rid of them, too, or I'm afraid they will take over the house.

  16. WOW! Your library is fantastic, Deborah!!!

    I used to work at the library when I was a teen and loved organizing and alphabetizing books. I recently found out about the "Little Free Libraries" (LFL) popping up all over the U.S. and Canada and I'm geeking out over all the cute libraries posted on the LFL's galleries.

    I collected books when I was younger and used to fantasize about having a library (with a ladder!) like Belle's library from Beauty and the Beast. Hee! But now I prefer to borrow books from friends or the library.

  17. I think that there's a bookcase or two in every room of the house but the bathrooms! I like to live with my books, and though I will give some away or take some to a used book store, there are always more waiting to go on the shelves!

  18. Wow Deborah, your new library looks amazing. And it does add that cozy feel to the space. I am sure you had a great time organizing it all. I am sure it is now one of your favorite rooms to be in.

    Enjoy your new library.


  19. I do collect books!! In fact we are renovating a room and turning it into a library!! I need these book cases!! Where are can I buy them??'n

  20. You are so right. Beautifully bound books should always take center stage in any room. This room is just so lovely. You've done a great job arranging them, as well.

    I have been meaning to go through my books in my office and in our bookshelves in the family room.......and then there are the piles of books in our bedroom, living room, etc., etc.

    I need your motivation.

    Cheers, M-T

  21. What a wonderful feeling to have your books all around you and be able to pick out just what you want, this is so rewarding! Yes I do collect books on arts, crafts and teaching all kind of organised but I'm afraid paperback fiction has to be passed on due to lack of room. My daughter won't hear of ever giving up a book though being an English literature undergraduate -she would love a wall like yours!
    Best wishes
    Alison xx


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