Posted by: thatjen | February 10, 2006

Really, you’d think a librarian would be more organized

First food for the body, now food for the soul. The first bookcase you will see is a testament to compromise, preparations for baby, the wonder that is Ikea, and Cait’s drive to put things together no matter how much her hands hurt.

We decided we wanted to use this room as more of a playroom and less of a junk pit, so the desk went and the new bookcases came. I had wanted to go for the frugal option and just get standards, brackets, and shelves at Home Depot*, but Cait thought that would be hideously ugly. Having learned the art of compromise — and loving any excuse to go to Ikea — I agreed to look there as well. The result you see is the wall unit that we got just before New Year’s. Being Ikea, this unit consisted of six separate pieces. Being stubborn, we bought a combination that’s not “supposed” to work together, but Cait (armed with a cordless drill and a wife who was willing to go to the hardware store repeatedly) made it happen. It replaces an ancient Door Store** bookcase and a desk that did nothing but hold junk. (The remaining junk is right there in those boxes you see on the floor.) Admittedly, they hold more stuff than books, but they hold it all in such style!

The room is still in progress but we hope to get it cleared out and ready to roll by the end of March. The books are not sufficiently categorized or organized to my satisfaction but the general theme of this section is reference and non-fiction.

Moving on to another room, we have the Children’s section:

The topmost shelf of books is adult fiction, primarily women writers — and Harry Potter, which did not fit in the shelves below (in exchange there are a couple of art books on the bottom shelf which don’t fit in the other room). The dog was a gift from my mom at our wedding shower. It’s an autograph dog, the kind you usually see at 4th grade girls’ slumber parties, but my mom thought it would be fun to have people sign it at the shower. It was fun, but what do you do with an autograph dog when you’re in your late 20s/early 30s?*** Given that Harpo has a school librarian and a teacher for a mom, this section is due to explode exponentially in the next few years.

*especially since we have a gift card of significant size for the aforementioned retail institution
**local DC Ikea predecessor that’s long since been out of business
***Answer: let the kids play with it. And they love it.


  1. ooo, those are the shelves I want for our hallway – so glad to hear “illegal” combinations will work with a few extra tools and some other items found at the local, ahem, home improvement warehouse!…

  2. I’d think a libarian is probably too tired of shelving and organizing by the time she gets home…

    The shelves are beautiful.

  3. B, the “illegal” bit was stacking the shelves 4 high. They come in units that are 2 high, and you can attach a single unit to the drawer/bench unit, but you aren’t supposed to stack a second set of shelves to make it wall height. If you want to Frankenstein it like we did, the key thing to know is that there’s a metal brace underneath the top shelf in each unit, so you can’t drill all the way through. I *think* we ended up using a 1 1/4″ screw but am not sure. And then we used* those anchors that Ikea always includes to fix the whole shebang to the wall.

    *Um, I mean “will use”. But that is on the to do list for the short term – there’s just some debate about whether or not the room will be painted first.

  4. We had one of those autograph dogs at our shower, too! Only ours had a little lei, because there was a luau theme. I had one at my graduation party for high school, too.

    And I really recommend putting the wall anchors in. Although I have to admit we haven’t got around to it, either, and we live in earthquake country.

    (One day, there will be an article about me in LA Times, headlined, “Librarian Killed By Books”.

  5. We still have the Door Store in NY!

    Fun to peer at other’s shelves. And that room in the front is looking good – it will be a nice playroom.

  6. Jen left out the new bookshelf upstairs in our bedroom, which is where a number of the books that aren’t on the playroom/study shelves ended up. I’m just happy that they’re all finally back out of boxes.

    Oh yeah, and the entire bookcase devoted to cookbooks.

  7. oooh a school librarian! Tending my classroom library is truly one of my fave parts of my job. Sometimes I am too weary to do it at home…sometimes not. πŸ™‚

  8. I LOVE IT!

    Cait did an AWESOME job in putting those together.

    And as for the books, we certainly do NOT expect your personal shelves to resemble the dewey decimal system.

    Mine are in groups, by catagory, and that is sufficient.


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