Philosophical Hall at Strahov Monastery

I like libraries.  Especially the really old libraries with the ornate woodwork, the old comfy chairs, and, especially, the old books.  They don’t build libraries like that anymore.  Now, they’re modern looking shells of steel and glass with gargantuan shelves and little elevators that bring you up to the level you need to get the book you are looking for.

Strahov Monastery (Strahovsky klaster)The Philosophical Hall of Strahov Monastery Library is an 18th century library.  With it’s original books…


While there are parts of the library that are open to the public, the Philosophical hall is not. A photographer by the name of Jeffrey Martin has gone and taken a full 360 degree panorama of the hall. There’s an article on the process up at Wired Underwire, or you can go directly to the image on 360 cities. If you zoom in, you can see most of the titles on the books. Most are in a language I don’t read, so couldn’t tell you what they actually say. Still fun to look at though!

Photo Credit:Tjflex2, on Flickr

The Hearst Private Library

I’m a big fan of libraries.  Dens.  Nooks.  Wherever you can store books, mostly.  Big private library/study room are almost entirely a thing of the past now.  Very few newer homes have one.

So, I found it a little hard to not share this picture of the Hearst library at Hearst Castle.  It is/was  a private library. They’ve done some work to the Castle and made it into a tourist/historic landmark of some sort, so I don’t know if you can access the library or not.  In any case, here it is as taken by Trey Ratcliff of (which is an excellent photo blog if you like that sort of thing.)  Click on the image to see it bigger at flickr.  If you’re interested in Trey’s methods (HDR photography), he’s got a book out as well.   Check out A World in HDR.

Hearst Library

Yummy library.

What’s Your Book Collecting Style?

Are you an extreme collector?  Admit it, you’ve kept every book you’ve ever read and could easily open up your own private library.  No?  Then what?

Personally, I’ve been debating.  I have this thing where I usually do what I can to buy only hardcover books.  It’s a fetish of sorts.  The problem with that is that I also tend to keep most every book I buy.  So, I’m quickly running out of space on my bookshelves and in my house.  So, then what?  Put some in boxes and store them?  Gasp!  Sell some? Gasp!  NO!  *quickly starts grabbing books from the desk around him*  “My Pretties…”

Seriously though.  There are some that I just won’t be rid of.  My Stephen King collection for instance.  No where near complete, but still expansive.  I’ve got a couple of collectibles in there as well.  A signed copy of American Gods (that I haven’t actually read), a history book from pre 1900, and several books from the mid 1900’s.  Those will stay.  But what of the rest?  I’m beginning to wonder if it’s really necessary to keep them ALL.  Chances are that I won’t reread 99% of them.  I very rarely do.

I do dream, however, of a home library.  A room that has it’s walls covered in bookshelves with comfy chairs and maybe even one of those cool wall ladders that you see occasionally that slide around from place to place.  Dark hardwoods, accented by a little bit of leather and a lot of old world flair.  And a few fantasy elements thrown in for eccentricity’s sake.  Ahh…

But, that is likely going to be way, way down the road or never.  So, with limited space and limited shelving, what’s a reader to do?

What does your book situation look like?  If you’ve got pics, feel free to link to them, but let us know.