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How To Organize A Home Library

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Are you a book lover or collector? Are you running out of space for your books? Do you want your bookshelves in some sort of order? These tips will help you organize your home library and display your book collection beautifully.

Book lovers and collectors often find themselves with space and organizational problems. Whether your home library is big or small, good organization is important. After all, you love your books and want to show them off!

7 Steps To A Beautiful, Organized Home Library

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Step 1 – Decide where you want your library

Choosing the space you are going to use for your personal library is an important first step. Some people like to turn a spare room into a library; others prefer to line a wall in their living area or bedroom with bookcases. What you choose to do will depend on how much space you have and the size of your collection.

When choosing your space, it is also important to remember that direct sunlight can harm your books, causing them to fade. A dark room is preferable to a bright and sunny one. It is also important to keep in mind that dampness and mildew will also harm your books and cause them to rot. Storing your books in a dry and darkroom is the best place for them.

Most people prefer to keep their books together in one room, although if finding enough space in one room is a problem for you, then bookcases throughout the house may be beneficial.

Just remember, your collection will more than likely continue to grow, so try and pick a space that has room for more books.

Step 2 – Decide on the type of shelving you want to use

There are many different shelving options available for home libraries. Some people prefer shelving that is fixed to the wall. This is a permanent option for those who own their own home, and it offers a sturdier place to store your books. If you are lucky enough to be building a new home, you can incorporate shelving into the design.

If you are renting, or just prefer something that can be moved, freestanding bookshelves are the way to go. Freestanding shelves can also be picked up quite cheaply from discount stores, so there is no need to break the budget when putting together shelving for your home library.

If you are a collector of first edition or rare books, you may prefer to keep these in a glass display case away from oily fingers and dust. Glass cases not only keep your books safe from the elements, children and pets, but they also serve as a great way to highlight those books you want to display as important.

Step 3 – Decide on a system of organization

Once your shelves are set up, it’s time to work out how you are going to organize your books. There are many ways to do this: the most popular being by author or genre.

If you read books in a variety of genres, it may help to organize them into a genre, then sort by author, to make locating particular books easier. This is especially important if your home library is quite large.

You can also organize your collection by size of book or colour. I love the colour option because it makes your library look like a rainbow. However, it is more difficult to find books unless you remember exactly what it looks like.

Step 4 – Keeping track of your book collection

If you are a collector and own a large number of books, it helps to keep track of what you own. There are a variety of ways you can do this.

Some people like to make a spreadsheet on their computer to keep track of their books; some people like to use a website like LibraryThing to catalog their collection.

There are also several iPhone applications available that can be used to catalog your collection. Some of these incorporate barcode scanning to make entering books into the database quicker and easier.

Step 5 – Looking after your book collection

Once you have your home library set up, it is important to look after your books.

Good library practices include:

  • keeping direct sunlight off your books as this can cause them to fade
  • regular dusting to keep them clean
  • keeping the room free off excess moisture
  • good ventilation

Cigarette or cigar smoke will harm your books, so refrain from smoking around them as they can become discolored and retain a bad odor.

If you follow these simple book preservation rules, then your books should continue to look new and clean for a long time.

Step 6 – Reevaluating and reorganizing your home library

Most book lovers and collections come to the point where they run out of space for their books. When this happens, it may help to reevaluate and reorganize your home library.

Go through your collection and take out any books you no longer want. If there are books that you did not like that much or are never going to read again, then it may be time to remove them to make room for books you do want to keep.

Passing these books on to a friend or family member is one good way to get them out of your library, or you can swap them for books you do want on a book swapping website like Bookmooch.

Another way to remove these books from your library is to donate them to a charity. Most major cities have a book collecting charities that put together libraries for homeless people in refuges or shelters.

Giving your books to a worthy cause will not only help de-clutter your home library but help out those in need.

Step 7 – Enjoy your home library

Like any other collection, your home library is meant to be enjoyed, whether it be just a bookshelf in your living room or whether you have a whole room dedicated to your books. The space you create should bring you joy. Joy to look at, joy to read and a joy to just to sit amongst them. Make sure you make time to enjoy your home library.

With a little thought and effort, a home library can be well organized and easily accessible for the whole family. No matter how you choose to display and sort your books, a library is a great addition to any home.

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