Stephen Pradier sent this nice article from the Wall Street Journal about a resurgence in home libraries. Great news! If I must say so myself, having a library at home is awesome! Check out this one.
The idea of curling up with a good book has increasingly come to mean flipping on an e-reader, not flipping through the pages of a leather-bound novel in a book-lined room.
Yet the home library is on the rise, having become something of a cerebral status symbol. Affluent homeowners are buying quality books in quantity to amass collections for private personal libraries. These rooms are as much aesthetic set pieces and public displays of intelligence as they are quiet spaces to reflect and retreat. Some people are also seeking the services of experts to help pull together notable collections or to advise on the look, feel and content of their home libraries.
Dan Rubin, a principal of Alloy Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif., venture capital firm, is known among his friends for his home library. It is filled with the 3,000 books he began collecting as a teen. He mostly kept them in boxes, until the father of three moved into a new home a few years ago, and asked the architect to build a library for his collection. Mr. Rubin, 52 years old, wanted the library to "look grand, like I just came back to London after conquering, say, Kafiristan," he jokes.
It is a room for Mr. Rubin's son, age 15, to prepare his science presentation, or for Mr. Rubin to read while the rest of the family is doing homework or watching television. "It's a place to pause between all of the constant chatter of iPads and smartphones, a place to actually communicate with one another," he says.
The two-story, English walnut-lined room has five reading nooks, a work desk that can be hidden behind two sliding doors, and a spiral staircase that leads to a catwalk of books and the master bedroom.
Rare-books dealer Donald Heald says his 40-year-old company, based in New York, has seen a huge uptick in clients in their 30s of late.
"If you want to own a great atlas of London from the 18th century, that when you hold it in your hands you're transported, there is no app for that," Mr. Heald says. As a collectible field, books are a reasonable value compared with, say, contemporary art: "You could amass a magnificent collection of rare books for less than the price of one Jeff Koons multiple," he says, and no one will "walk in and say, 'Wow, that's $20 million sitting on those shelves.' "
Mr. Rubin says one of the best things about his library is its effect on his children.
"I had a two-second question for my dad on my World War I essay, but somehow it turned into a two-hour answer filled with primary and secondary sources from [my dad's] library to back up his explanation," daughter Hannah Rubin, 17, said via email. "As a result, I spent much longer on that essay than I had anticipated, But my teacher was extremely impressed with my bibliography."
To read the complete article, see:
A House to Look Smart In
Wayne Homren, Editor
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