Contrary to the thousands of blogs of advice about shelves, chairs, and lighting, creating a home library begins with the books you’ve read and those you want to read, not the design or layout of the room.
Yes, a style and tone may affect the ambience, but the proper growth begins with books. You may have saved a few from classes taken long ago, and you may even have a few favorite books from your childhood. Good for you! There’s a place for every book on the shelf of a well-rounded library. You may take comfort in revisiting the adventures of Rat, Mole, and Toad in Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic, The Wind in the Willows, or while away an afternoon with Robert Louis Stevenson’s, Where Go the Boats?
Some of the colorful illustrations that filled later publications went on to become sought-after works of art in their own right. Additionally, the enchanting nature of the stories themselves continues to bring fond memories to the old and young.
“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” —Jorge Luis Borges
The best place to begin is where you are. Start with the books you have and believe you may want to reread in the future. Then start to expand from there. Don’t despair if you never quite understood the classics you read ’way back when life was far more interesting outside school than inside, those heavy tomes that seemed to be merely items that teachers required you to check off a list each year. It’s never too late to read what are called the classics. Various websites have lists of the best, by the century, by the author, by the most influential in their time, and by the most-loved.
There are no wrong choices here. This is your library, and the books you choose to line the shelves—or stack on the floor—are the ones that will bring you back again and again. You may be a fan of fiction, love historical biographies, or be a fan of science fiction. If you lean more toward non-fiction, another world is available to find the subject matter that interests you. That is the key to any worthy library: The books that are interesting to you!
Regardless of the space you have, if you start collecting books of every description, old and new, classic, drama, or poetry, then you’ll soon find yourself with a library where you’ll enjoy spending time with your books. You’ll also start searching in bookstores, in libraries for their annual sales, in estate and garage sales, and elsewhere. But most importantly, you’ll find your world changing as you take time each day to spend in your library, among your “friends,” as you learn more than you ever thought possible.