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Thursday, July 29, 2010


Thomas L. McDonald

I have no idea why, but I love seeing pictures of people's personal libraries. I converted my entire garage into one.

Marcel LeJeune

I am impressed. Nicely done sir.

Brian J. Schuettler

You might want to hang a sign that warns people that the bookcase is "structurally challenged". Prudence, Carl, prudence.

Brian J. Schuettler

Carl, btw, take it from a former CFO of a construction company that erected tall steel structures in the NY metropolitan area: Never, never, use the phrase "and I am now praying the whole thing doesn't collapse".


Looks great. I would like to have you do a posting on how you organize your library. Mine is in a constant state of flux. Any ideas would be appreciated!!

Teo Matteo

too neat for me... but i do have a copy of the Catechism holding up the corner of my bookshelf...

Richard Olsen

Oh my, now you've done it Olson. If my wife sees this I know what she'll say. O.K. Olsen, if a Swede can do it (I assume you have Swedish stock by the spelling of your name) then a Norwegian Olsen had better do just as good or better.
Thanks pal.

Fr. Thomas Doyle

I agree, Mr. McDonald. I, too, love looking at other people's libraries. Yours, Mr. Olson, is excellent. Thanks for the "sneak peek" into your home.

Now, my next question is how they are all organized. By subject? Alphabetically? Or is it just memory: "I think that book is somewhere over here..."

Charles E Flynn

Congratulations, Carl.

Are the shelves in the top photo bending a bit, or is what I see as curvature an artifact of photography?

Ed Peters

A man after mine own heart, sir. Nicely done.

(Now, nudge that top one over to the left a couple inches, and you've the weight being sent more neatly down the strong siding, and you've freed up a few surface inches on the right. Plus you make it look more geeky-book-nutty, which is always a good.)

Gregory Williams

Nice job, Carl! It looks great.

With all due respect to Dr. Peters, moving the top bookcase to the left would indeed send the load more directly down the left vertical siding, but take load away from the right vertical siding. Carl would eventually see sagging under the right side (assuming his bottom book case has typical material properties).

The way Carl has it now, with the top book case placed in the center, evenly loads the left and right sides. But, as Dr. Peters noted, the load path is more of a zig-zag instead of a direct,straight line.

Ideally, the top bookcase would be just a little bit shorter than the bottom bookcase so that the vertical walls of the top book case would both sit nearly on top of the vertical walls of the bottom. That would be almost the most direct load path.

I'd still make the width of the top a little bit shorter than the width of the bottom. The walls of the bottom book case project up a little bit, so you could use them as stops to help center the top book case.

BTW, Carl, is your bookcase free standing, or is it up against a wall? It wasn't apparent to me from the photo.

Full disclosure: I wish I had the time to be as well-read as you fine folks who I admire so much. Instead, I have to keep up with my job as a structural engineer. 8-(

Hope this helps!

Stephen Sparrow

But Carl, have you srewed it to the wall behind using a small steel bracket ? I assume Oregon does get the odd earthquake. Remember that old adage "praise the Lord but pass the ammunition"


Carl, if you have boxes of books in storage i.e. you can't reach out and pick one up when needed then you don't need those books. If you had a garage sale, advertised on this blog, you would probably be able to solve the third world debt crisis with the proceeds or at least have a nice meal out with the family.

Carl E. Olson

Thanks, everyone, for the comments. Like Thomas, I really enjoy looking at other people's libraries. From the time I was a little boy I always thrilled at walking into someone's home and seeing a full bookcase or two. I suppose my parents must have liked it as well, since it meant they knew exactly what I would be doing for the time we were there.

And, yes, I come from Swedish stock. As best I can figure out, I'm 1/2 Swede, 1/4 German, and 1/4 Irish. Which probably explains my passive-aggressive, elative-depressive personality. ;-)

I would like to have you do a posting on how you organize your library.

I think I'll do this as a separate post, just for kicks. My "system" is not very systematic or logical; in fact, it's almost nonsensical.

Carl, if you have boxes of books in storage i.e. you can't reach out and pick one up when needed then you don't need those books.

You are correct: I don't need the books. However, I do want to keep them. :-)

I assume Oregon does get the odd earthquake.

Yes, with an emphasis on "odd". Everything in Oregon is odd!

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