A century ago, no home was complete without a fully furnished library. Today, to our great fortune, the trend is returning. The only problem is that most modern homes are simply not built with rooms designated for this purpose, meaning that literature lovers are forced to utilize tiny offices or spare bedrooms instead. With a soaring stack of books and limited shelf space, organization is key. Rather than throwing Austen and Bronte together with that tutorial on household plumbing, create a real sense of ambience with the following tips on how to turn a small room into an organized home library.
Tip #1: Separate fiction from non-fiction. A great first step toward separating your manuals and guides from more enriching literature is to simply separate the fiction from the non-fiction. Note that we’re not separating entertaining literature from how-to guides, but merely fabricated stories from tutorials, photography books, reference resources, etc.
Tip #2: Organize your non-fiction by category. Separating fiction from non-fiction is far from the final step to an organized home library. Place non-fiction stories with other non-fiction stories, books of photography with other books of photography, guides with other guides, etc. You don’t have to micro-organize them after that, but at least place similarly themed books together.
Tip #3: Organize fiction novels by genre. Possible genres in your fiction collection might include drama, romance, mystery, fantasy and science fiction, history, inspirational, etc. You may also decide to keep classics in a genre of their own rather than defining them by modern standards.
Tip #4: Alphabetize fiction novels by author or title. Don’t worry, you don’t have to literally alphabetize your fiction titles in the strictest sense, but do place titles/authors with names that begin with “A”with each other and continue through the list likewise. Keeping a small home library strictly alphabetized may be next to impossible for anyone who leads a hectic lifestyle, but this more lax system of organization will prove dramatically helpful.
Tip #5: Store cumbersome, less used books on bottom shelves. The bottom shelves of your small library will likely be best devoted to resource materials. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, and text books that are not used regularly can be stored in lower areas.
Tip #6: Keep children’s books on lower to mid-level shelves. You may consider also purchasing a smaller 3-4 shelf unit especially for children’s books to store youth literature at a child’s eye level (and away from your collection).
Tip #7: Consider placing a round area rug in the center of your limited space for children’s reading time. If you have children to read to but aren’t sure of how you’ll seat them in your small library space, consider a soft, comfortable new area rug for group reading times to be used as a communal seating area. Libraries often use the same strategy to give children a warm spot to spread out during special reading hours.
Tip #8: Create a reading nook with a chair, footstool, and lamp. Creating a quiet place to curl up with a book requires no more effort that having an empty corner in your own home library. A reading chair with a footstool for relaxing paired with a bright reading lamp provide more than an adequate start.
Tip #9: Keep TV’s and other distractions out of your library, especially if children are present, but do keep a CD player on hand. Playing soothing music during your literary escapes will enhance your experience, but otherwise keep your library a sacred place. TV’s and computers will detract from the room’s appeal.
A little planning and one or two designated reading spots are all it takes to create an inviting home library out of a small room. Encourage your family to find out more about themselves and the world around them by taking in what your new, well organized library has to offer.