Once you get enough books, you may begin to notice that shelves are more of a convenience and a mark of pride than a necessity. Piles of books may be easier, but if you're establishing a large collection to fill an entire room or designing an actual library, it may be time to invest in a more sturdy system for storing your stories. A few library shelving, design and placement ideas can help you maximize your book placement while keeping the constant addition of new bookshelves--and the effort of putting them together--at a minimum.
Width Versus Book Stability
A cost-effective use of shelving involves using as little wood as possible to hold as many books as possible. A wide bookshelf only uses the wood needed to design the top, bottom and two sides of the shelves, while choosing multiple, smaller shelves introduces more sides with each shelf.
The math involved for comparing the two options may get a bit frightening when you bring thickness and support strength into the equation, but think about supporting the books inside a wide shelf. You'd either need to stack the books tightly to keep them stable or purchase bookends to keep the books stable.
Bookends are a simple concept, but it's not uncommon for someone to rush out to a book supply store to get a bookend for their wide shelf. How many bookends are needed for each shelf? How expensive will it be in total? Are the bookends hazardous to the shelf? These questions can be answered by guessing how many books can fit in the bookshelf (or by asking the manufacturer) and dividing the number of books into evenly-sized sections.
The last question about bookends being hazardous to the shelf depends on the shelf quality and the type of bookend. For wooden or fiber board bookshelves, try to avoid bookends made out of thin, metal sheets. These sheets can dig into the surface of the bookshelves when put under pressure, and can be even more damaging when bent out of shape.
Shelf Placement And Easy Access
Another concern with getting the right type of bookshelf is whether the shelving fits both you and the books. The shelf needs to be able to accommodate your largest books without being too tall for you or most visitors. Although stepladders and stepping stools can help, it's best to minimize the effort needed to reach books until you have enough books to reach a second level of height.
The shelving you use is important here, as it decides how many books you can place and how much space is taken up. Some shelving is incredibly thick in order to be strong enough for multiple books without collapsing, as thin shelving may bend and break as your collection gets larger.
Shelving doesn't simply mean the horizontal shelves used to seat the books. Manufacturers can send vertical blocks or boards that can add support to the horizontal shelving, which can reduce the bending or dipping problem due to weight. The vertical shelving is placed in sections to support the horizontal shelving, creating sections just like the bookends.