Home Libraries

If you’re a reader, you likely have a few bookcases in your home. Anywhere books gather, that’s your home library – whether a lone bookcase, multiple bookcases, or a dedicated room. Bookcases filled with books give a home a comfy vibe, especially if there’s a chair deep enough to pile into for an afternoon of reading with a good cup of coffee or tea. Now, that’s a good day!

Some home libraries are so vast they rival most people’s actual houses. Some are architectural treasures on their own, never mind that they hold huge numbers of books. Let’s take a peek at a few notable home libraries.

Just a short drive down I-40, a visit to the Biltmore Estate is breathtaking from start to finish, from the home to the greenhouses. What a masterpiece. The library is in a class by itself with the two-story impact as you enter, holding an estimated 22,000 books.

In contrast to the grandeur of the Biltmore library are the photos of Donald Judd’s library. A renowned minimalist artist, his library appears more like a warehouse with simple straight lines, no frills whatsoever. Very stark.

Diane von Furstenberg, the well-known designer of the wrap dress, has an art deco inspired library. The primary focus of her collection is fashion, no great surprise. Books are shelved from floor to ceiling; to reach the high shelves, there are four wheeled ladders available.

The Admont Abby Library in Austria holds 70,000 volumes. With painted ceilings and shelves painted white with gold trimmings, its photos make it look like it belongs in a grand palace.

The private library of George Lucas is at his Sky Walker Ranch and features a glass-domed ceiling. A research library, it is available for use by filmmakers (but by appointment only).

Nigella Lawson, a London television personality and food writer, owns another focused library. Her floor to ceiling library contains about 6,000 food-related books.

Richard Macksey’s home library holds 70,000 volumes. They appear to be everywhere in his home – on shelves, on tables, on the floor. His library is one of the largest private libraries in Maryland.

Karl Lagerfeld’s Paris library holds an estimated 60,000 volumes, many with an art or fashion focus. Contrary to books shelved vertically, books in his library are stacked horizontally in minimalist-inspired bookcases. For the topmost books, rather than wheeled ladders, there’s a catwalk. Getting to the bottom book in a stack must be a fun endeavor.

Jay Walker, the inventor of Priceline.com, has a 3,600 square foot library known as The History of Human Imagination. Along with 30,000 books, there are artifacts from history, and works of art. Multiple staircases of unique design allow access.

Back to reality. Those libraries are fantastic to be sure, but your own library is special as well. Why? Because it’s filled with books that you and your family enjoy. Perhaps your child’s favorite childhood book (a Golden book or Goodnight Moon for instance), a dog-eared book that’s been read so many times it’s coming apart, and a family Bible with your family tree started generations ago. It’s your personal library that you’re building. Pull up a chair and enjoy a good read!