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V20 2017 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 11, March 12, 2017, Article 7

MORE ON THE THREAT OF COLLAPSING BOOKSHELVES

Last week I wrote (about my library), "Someday the whole thing may explode and bury me in a pile of biblio-debris." Ken Berger writes:

I think you meant your books will implode & collapse on you, not explode.

Ron Thompson library
Ron Thompson's Library

Ron Thompson of Decatur, Georgia writes:

There should be a term for the fear of dying under your own bookcase and books. Perhaps your readers can come up with one. Here is my tale.

When I moved into my home in Georgia it came with a 12 foot wall bookcase. That was an attraction to me since I had lots of books to fill it. Several years later the bookcase was filled. The overflow went first to the top of the bookcase and then into some barrister bookcases in the halls – no double booking for me!. And then our condo association decided to do a number of construction projects to upgrade the facilities including repaving.

Construction makes lots of noise and also vibrations, which you sort of get used to eventually. After the construction projects were complete I noticed one day that many of my books had migrated on their own, like those famous moving stones in Death Valley, from the back of the shelves to the front and some actually were a bit over the edge of the shelf. I pushed on the bookcase and moved backwards then forwards again! I could just visualize the whole thing falling on me! I immediate pushed every book as far back on the shelf as I could. That realigned the center of gravity so the bookcase is much more stable now, but I periodically check to make sure all the books are pushed all the way back. I have also removed the books on the top of the bookcase to further lower the center of gravity.

Martin Purdy of New Zealand writes:

Martin Purdy library Boy, does this story make me feel better! When we enlarged our house, we set aside one "bedroom" as a library, and shelved both the long walls, thinking that would meet our needs for the foreseeable future.

Fifteen years on, some shelves are double-stacked, I have longer books sideways on top of smaller books standing vertically, there are piles of books on the floor, and the shelving has expanded into the lounge, hallway and upstairs landing, not counting the shelves that are part of my separate office anyway.

I'm currently cataloguing just the coin and language-related books, and limiting myself to listing ten a day so I don't drive myself nuts or become so daunted by the prospect that nothing happens at all. I'm discovering some interesting titles that I'd entirely forgotten were in there, though I try to avoid at least some of the blame for that: at the time we were working on the house I acquired most of the numismatic library of a numismatist who'd been active in the 1960s and 70s, and a lot of his material was shelved quickly by size and not looked at too closely in the rush.

We're in earthquake-prone territory so I have some fears of what may happen with a decent shake, though there is some consolation in realising that the "library" looks rather like the "big one" has already happened!

Thanks. We're all in this biblio-boat together. But ain't it great? -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: MARCH 5, 2017 : Library Organization, Or Lack Thereof (www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n10a11.html)

DWN E-Sylum ad03


Wayne Homren, Editor

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