30 August 2009 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 5 comments

I spent a big chunk of this afternoon working on the library project. Here’s what’s gone on so far….

All of the fiction books were moved out of the main library and were relocated to a bookcase in our living room. It’s true. W.E.B. Griffin has been banished. The baseball books were also moved to the same bookcase. That opened up a 7 foot tall x 3 foot wide bookcase that had been completely full with fiction books.

I moved two bookcases that had been in my office home and put them in front of the closet in the library (the closet really doesn’t get used for much of anything, so it’s not a big loss), and moved all of the non-Civil War nonfiction books into them and into the bookcase previously occupied by the fiction books. Those three bookcases are pretty much completely full.

The rest of the room consists of a single, free-standing 7 foot tall x 3 foot wide bookcase and 24 linear feet of built-in floor-to-ceiling bookcases that pretty much fill up two walls of the room. Because the ceiling in that room is 7 feet and not 8, spacing has always been a little funky in the built-in’s. In addition, oversize books have always taken up a lot of space in those bookcases. Susan, who really has an engineer’s eye, figured out that if she re-drilled some of the holes in the built-in’s, she could gain a number of additional shelves for me to use. By doing that, she has gained five shelves worth of space for me.

Since Susan has finished that portion of the project, I started working the new books in today. I actually made pretty good progress today–I worked in all of the new biographies and all of the new campaign books, all of which filled the four additional shelves on the left side of the built-in’s. I have plenty of room left to work in the rest of the new stuff, which consists of four categories: cavalry books, unit histories, non-cavalry soldier letters and reminiscences, and miscellaneous. There are probably more new cavalry books and unit histories than anything else, so working them in will take the most space. However, these four categories will take the least time, but I am sure that they will fill up whatever’s left in the way of open shelf space, and I’m really not sure what I’m going to do with the oversize books. So, the upshot is that while there is enough shelf space to accommodate everything THIS time, there definitely will not be next time. And that’s when we’re really going to have a problem.

Once the shelving project is complete, I will take a couple of photos of the room and will post them here so you can get a sense of what I’m talking about.

Scridb filter


  1. Phil LeDuc
    Sun 30th Aug 2009 at 6:25 pm

    The space-for-books problem is kind of like taxes (and death I guess), isn’t it? You can defer it for a while, but inexorably it gets you in the end. I’ve got the same situation.

    On a related note Eric, have you catalogued your collection at all? Whether manually or using a software program or similar means?
    It’s something I think I need to do for insurance and other purposes, and I’d be interested to hear from you and your readers on this subject. I’d like to find something that’s user-friendly and can produce reports that can be sorted by subject or title or author, and which then can be printed.

    Thanks and good luck.

  2. Don Gallagher
    Mon 31st Aug 2009 at 7:44 am

    In my last house space was a problem. I had all the walls lined with bookcases and had 6 back to back down the middle of the room. This solved the storage problem but created a lighting issue.

  3. Rob Wick
    Mon 31st Aug 2009 at 10:16 am


    Interesting you mention that. After I present a paper in October, instead of returning to my biography of Everton Conger, I plan on beginning the process of cataloging my books for the insurance purposes you mention. I simply plan to use an Excel spreadsheet and go to used book sites to get an average price for books that are out of print. I know that I don’t have enough insurance on the contents of my house for the number of books I have. Will likely take me a couple of months to accomplish.

  4. Dave Gill
    Mon 31st Aug 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Phil –
    Regarding cataloging – I have Readerware. It can be used with a bar code scanner, or you can enter ISBN or Lib Congress numbers. It can pull info from Amazon (pictures, authors, etc. some estimate of cost/value). It can generate Dewey decimal numbers if you like.

    The bar code scanner was free – and the whole shebang was pretty reasonable.


  5. Mike Fitzpatrick
    Mon 31st Aug 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Please post a picture of your completed handi-work.
    I envy you! you have quite a wife!

    Mike Fitzpatrick

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