How do I Choose the Best Library Bookshelf?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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An extremely important factor when choosing a library bookshelf is its weight capacity. If the books are too heavy for the shelves, they will cause the bookshelf to warp, or buckle. If you select modular bookcases, which are separate shelving units, you have the option of placing them in the room one or two together side-by-side or having more of these bookshelf units in longer rows that may take up an entire wall. Modular bookcases with rectangular shelves can neatly house a taller book collection as well as hold magazine file boxes, while glass door units help protect old or valuable books. Another option for a library bookshelf is a built-in one.

A built-in bookshelf for a library may be placed in a recessed wall. It may also fit into a regular wall — especially a large one. If you plan on having a built-in library bookshelf, many home contractors will give you a free estimate on what the project will cost. Since your built-in library shelving will be custom work, you can decide the best place in your home to locate your library as well as on the overall shelf design. Shelving that goes right from the floor to the ceiling can be the most space-efficient.


When deciding between wood or metal shelving, go for strength — especially if you'll be placing rows of books on each shelf. Both metal and wood shelving can be lightweight or heavy duty, so it's important to know what you're buying. For built-in options, make sure you choose an experienced contractor who understands how to properly support, or brace, a library bookshelf. Whether buying built-ins or ready-made library shelves, you should know the weight capacity of each shelf to avoid warping and ruining the metal or wood.

The style of bookshelf you choose to house your library should suit your home. Library bookshelves typically take up a lot of space, so style and color should be carefully thought out or you may be stuck looking at shelving in your home every day that you really don't like. Of course, changing the color of a library bookshelf design is often as simple as a coat of paint, but remodeling the style can be expensive and take a lot more time. Viewing all of the possible shelving options, and considering how they would work in your home, is a good way to choose the best one to avoid later disappointment.


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