In Library News...

by Lara Killian

12 September 2008

 

The Wall Street Journal published an article today about a renewed interest in private libraries in the US. In “Why Libraries Are Back in Style”, June Fletcher writes that it’s not exactly a new obsession with books (though they’re still selling well despite the generally acknowledged economic downturn), it’s the comfort factor – the need for an escape within the home from everyday stress.

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image credit: Ottox

Apparently, your cosy home library is not simply a place to keep books, it’s a place to reconnect with memories (via framed family photos) and escape the TV or home computer. I was personally dismayed to read that decorators will hunt for books with interesting bindings at flea markets and used book sales in order to decorate wealthy clients’ ill-used libraries – even buying books in foreign languages that the new owners are unable to read, just because the binding looks pretty. Blasphemy! After speaking with various architects and interior designers, Fletcher sums up their consensus:
Because libraries are public rooms, oftentimes the books are purely decorative and don’t say as much about the family who lives there. The books that people really read, like paperback novels and how-to guides, often are kept out of sight elsewhere in the home.
As long as something is getting read, somewhere, I suppose. In related news, the current issue of Oprah’s O at Home magazine gives readers an “inside look” at the talk show host’s private library, with matching leather-bound first editions galore. Somehow the idea of identically bound Pulitzer Prize winning volumes doesn’t give me a cozy feel, but to each her own! Do you have a library-like space where you can escape from your computer and other distractions to just relax? If not, what features would your dream library include?
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