Library shelves & storage

I am trying to improve a run-down library where the shelves are almost on the point of falling apart and there are store rooms but no storage shelves or anything really.

The library is run down and had hardly much spent on it in the last 20 years. The library is in eastern europe and since the fall of the the communist era and the rise of modern democracy the library has stood still. (Bit of a time warp!) 

I am able to make most things in wood and have tools and power tools, bench saw and drill etc. There is also reasonable supplies of timber. (But not that you would find in western europe, think basic..)

So the your challenge Instructables is! ideas and suggestions that I could use to replace the old shelves and sort out the storage.

Think simple or at least simplistic and give it a go.


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canucksgirl5 years ago
Can you give a bit more information on the scope of this project? Its hard to get a visual and provide much in the way of suggestions without knowing even the size of the library. Are there a lot of shelves that need replacing? Are they mainly free standing units that people can walk around to browse the books? How big do you want to make the shelves? What's in the storage room? As far as materials are concerned, are you getting everything from a lumber store, or will you be cutting trees?
Billrose (author)  canucksgirl5 years ago
Ok the shelves are to free standing about 4 feet high. Perhaps on wheels to they can be moved. There is access to construction timber but limited size and availability. Also not the best quality. 8 by 4 feet sheet of chipboard and MDF board.

The library is used also as a teaching room so abiltiy to move shelves bookcases would be an advantage. Also other kinds of shelving for DVD and magazines.

Ask away for more information, what ever you might need to know.

I would use the MDF and make a series of long boxes (roughly 48"L x 18"W x 12"D) and cut out some hand holes on the ends. When the boxes are placed on their sides, they can be stacked up as high as you wanted, and placed back-to-back to hold the books (and other items). To hold the boxes together (like a shelf) you could use some flat metal brackets with some screws. They would be very easy to put together and take apart if needed; and the hand holes would allow 2 people to turn them upright and carry them like boxes (if needed). Castor wheels added to the bottom row is a possibility if you can get the lockable type and with a high enough weight capacity for the weight of the books.
I second this. Boxes are fantastic library storage, either on their sides as "shelves" or open-end-up as typical boxes. I have seen children's libraries store their books in toy boxes, and the effect was quite charming.

Additionally, I think labeling is very important. Libraries have labels on books; labels on shelves; labels over non-fiction, fiction, audiovisual, children's, etc. - even in staff areas. Libraries are all about accessing information, and if you can't find the information, then the point of the library is lost. Whether out in the accessible materials or in the storage room, try to get the shelves/boxes labeled. If you cannot make "pretty" signs or labels, do your best with some paint or permanent marker... just some indication of what can be found there.
Billrose (author)  canucksgirl5 years ago
Storage rooms, think walk-in wardrobe size 8 x 6 feet and tall ceilings 10 feet high. Solid marble paving. one ceiling light bulb
I pesume the rooms are 8 foot deep and 6 feet wide ? with a single entance do they have steam registers in the rooms or conventional heating ducts if any heat at all ?

Temprature control i important for books specially old ones if your going to store them away.....
a.maarten5 years ago
Don't forget uniformity is a big plus! I'd place handles on both the top and the floor side (but make the handles smaller than the weels of course). You could think about painting the sides in different colours, so you easily recognise the top vs bottom.
Try to find out how big you can get the MDF-boards so you can think about how to place the different sides on a board. It'll make things a lot easier and faster) :)
If you only use one thickness of mdf, you could make the boxes better by making them fit into each other (better for strength & less fastening) as often done in lasercut boxes, see for example
Good Luck!
Billrose (author) 5 years ago
Thanks for all the ideas
Billrose (author) 5 years ago
Ah yes I like the box idea. I could make boxes from mdf and build various bookcases and shelves with them and mount some on wheels to move around
Brillidea5 years ago
The instructable I posted on building pallet wood shelves may be helpful. The system that you can extrapolate from the drawings has some key advantages and the uprights can be mounted on the end out of the way of front access. spacers can be made out of anything to keep the units vertical and secure against the wall. Biggest advantage is pallets are everywhere and all that is needed is a sand with belt sander and construction to suit the weight so screws rather than ring nails which I tend to use so I can bash them apart quickly and use them for something else. Also the dimensions are predictable and cutting can be reduced to around 70% of a normal carpentry job. Taking the pallets apart requires a specific tool and can be reduced to 1 minute per pallet, without breaking any of the wood.
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