Ideas for Readers · Personal

The Home Library Project: Part One, The Problem Zone

As someone who loves to read, I love being surrounded by books. I began building my home library when I was still a teenager, and I consider it to be one of the most essential parts of my home.

The Beast’s Library (Beauty and the Beast, 1991) — While part of me still wants this library for myself, the thought of having to dust all of those shelves makes me cringe.

Ultimately, everyone has a different idea of what constitutes the perfect home library. You might dream of someday owning enough books to fill every room of your home, prefer to keep only your favorites and make regular trips to the public library, or have a collection of titles spread out over a series of apps on your smart phone or tablet.

Regardless of its size, the home library can easily become a passion project of epic proportions.

It can also become one of the most disorganized areas of your home if, like me, you’re in the habit of buying a lot of books.

Here’s a peek at my manga shelves… I’m not a huge fan of stacking books like this, but it does free up some space. And honestly, I would much rather have my books in stacks than deal with two rows per shelf.

My home library has always been on the larger size, taking up most of the space in my bedroom during my teenage and college years, and spread throughout my home as an adult.

Currently, I have three places in my home where I keep my books: my bedroom, my office, and the kitchen.

Two of these library zones have been fairly easy to maintain. My collection of cookbooks is extremely small and doesn’t take up much kitchen space. It’s very easy to keep these books organized, especially since I rarely buy cookbooks.

My manga and comic books, on the other hand, take up a tremendous amount of wall space in my bedroom. But because I am currently collecting a very limited number of series, these shelves remain easy to keep organized.

My big problem is my main library/office space, which is where I keep my novels and most of my non-fiction texts. These shelves are more likely to see new additions, and they’ve become disorganized to the point where I am finding it difficult to locate specific books.

Here’s a look at what I’m currently dealing with:

In terms of aesthetics, these shelves don’t look horrible. But as you start to browse, you immediately notice that several shelves house multiple rows of books, titles are not always grouped according to genre, and some series have become separated due to a lack of space. It takes me much longer than I would like to locate specific books, and I’m just not happy with the current setup.

This week, I am going to be reorganizing my office bookshelves from top to bottom, with the goal of making my office/library a space that I actually want to spend time reading and working in. What I would like to do is organize these shelves in a way that mimics the layout of a bookstore; with my books grouped into genres, and alphabetized by author’s last name within those sections. Unfortunately, that’s not really an option for me at the moment.

As you all know, I live with a feline/velociraptor hybrid who has an alarming tendency to just destroy things that are left within his reach when they capture his interest.

Unfortunately, this does include books.

Darcy is the reason why my comic book collection currently resides in my bedroom behind a closed door. He not only likes to pull books off of shelves, but also has a “taste” for literature (pun intended). He has chewed on a significant number of my books, destroying several hardback book jackets and paperbacks.

I do have some books that are really special to me, either because they’ve been in my family for a long time, or because they’ve been signed by authors I’ve had the chance to meet. Since these books could not be replaced if they were damaged, I will need to be a little more flexible when it comes to how I choose to organize my books.

Home library reorganization does take a significant amount of time and effort, and I’ve decided to tackle this particular project over the course of several days. I’ll be sharing my journey with you here on The Unapologetic Bookworm throughout the rest of this week. I hope you’ll visit frequently for updates on my progress.

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