Active Home: Home Libraries
Reading between the lines.
Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman politician and lawyer who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He was considered to be one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists. While picture writing could possibly date back to 6600 BC, scholars still debate the advent of literary writing to approximately the 23rd or 24th centuries BC. Since this time, humans have accrued written works.
From important documents to fictional stories, collected works were housed in libraries – the repository of information. If you remember studying penmanship in school, manual typewriters and the fresh smell of photostat copies, you probably reached adulthood before personal devices and computers were essential appendages. Instead, you relied on public libraries to learn about the world, and chances are you could only check three books out at a time.
Today we are firmly planted in the information age, and anything we want to research is available at our fingertips. The online world can virtually take us to anywhere that we want to go – at any time. Knowledge sits in a cloud waiting to be accessed.
For many there is a tug-pull of resistance. Book lovers enjoy the tactile sense of holding a book in their hands. Some claim that we absorb more, retain it for longer and have a visceral reaction to words that are printed in books. Even though those same words may now appear on a screen, we still want our books close by. Whether its a single shelf, a bookcase on a wall, or an entire room full of books, our home libraries are a way to hold on to the stories that shape us.
Amazon recently opened its first-ever bricks and mortar location, where all the book covers face out on the shelves. It’s a great idea if you have the space, as we often remember the author and a book’s title by having a visual reference.
You don’t have to be a librarian and use the Dewey Decimal System to classify the books in your home library. It’s all about personal choice. You may choose to group your books by a theme or author, or perhaps by hard and soft covers. Some people prefer to sort by spine colour, weight or the height of the book depending upon the height of the shelf.
There’s nothing like curling up with a good book in your best-loved chair or a cosy daybed. If it’s a sunny spot, ensure that your books are protected from direct sunlight, as they can fade and deteriorate over time. Nooks and crannies are often favoured spots, so consider a loft space, a den, a bedroom or a home office for a library location.
In the Victorian era, library bookcases enveloped a room, reached the ceiling and required ladders to reach the top rows. This type of look is making a comeback with soaring, custom-made shelving. Bookcases are becoming statement pieces, whether intricately carved in deep wood tones, sleek open shelving or shelves behind glass, there’s nothing like a wall of books to make a well-read homeowner feel right at home.
Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., Founder & Principal Designer Jane Lockhart Interior Design. Jane is a multi-award winning designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, including six successful seasons as creative director and host of W Networks’ top ranked Colour Con dential, currently in reruns and airing on HGTV U.S. JaneLockhart.com
Photography By: Larry Arnal Photography & Brandon Barre Photography