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Choosing the Right Bookcases for Your Library

November 20, 2019 jill Blog


There are many choices out there when it comes to choosing and designing the right bookcases that should be used for a school’s library. Talking to experts can help with making the right choices for a school’s library bookcases. What should you consider? Take a look.

The Height of Your Bookcases

The height of your bookcases will often depend on the age of the person who is using the library. For example, if the library is for younger children, you’ll want to go with shorter bookcases so that the children can have easy access to their books.

If your patrons are primarily older students or adults, higher bookcases mean you double your storage options. If you have a mixed group of patrons, as you might in a K-12 facility, you may need bookcases at a variety of heights to help serve the needs of your population.

Creating Beauty

Bookcases come in a variety of heights, but the veneer choice can be just as important as the height. It can build the mood within your space, enhancing a love of reading and research at every turn. Wooden bookcases are easily the most traditional choice, and they seem to provide a more welcoming and pleasant atmosphere for a library.

While most libraries use wood bookcases, steel bookcases are also an option that should be seriously considered. They are lighter and often less expensive, and they can be painted to make them look quite pleasant and welcoming. In fact, they can be painted with the school’s colors, which will give a spirited look for your school’s library.

Using Mobile Bookcases

Many libraries use mobile bookcases along with their standard stationary bookcases. These mobile bookcases are useful if the library needs to section off an area of the library when special programs are being done in an area of the library.

Mobile bookcases are also useful when a person wants to rearrange an area in the library, so that by the use of mobile bookcases that can easily be moved around, the library is not cemented into the same look until the next time the library is remodeled.

When Space Is a Consideration

With schools growing in population and school space remaining the same since schools are still using the same building, it is often useful for schools to utilize the space that they have very carefully.

As such, the use of modular designs, double faced library shelving and even movable library stacks can be some very nice additions to school libraries. This allows them to display the highest selection of books on their shelves when space is limited.

Buyer’s Guide

School libraries are changing fast. Like classroom designs, they have to meet very different needs than they once did, and with that change comes a necessary shift in bookcase options. Before you design a new school library or offer a facelift to the old one, though, exploring the many choices available to you is a good idea.

Single or Double Faced

Depending on the layout of your library, you may want to go with single or double faced bookcases. Single faced are those that have a back panel with shelving on a single side. They work best against the walls of your library space.

Double faced shelves have panels on both sides for sturdy book storage that makes the most of the available space in your library. You may need a combination of the two to achieve the right layout.

Construction Materials

Today’s school libraries are as much about feel as they are about the contents of the library itself. Going with bookcases that are a bit different can give you that warm feel you want. Wooden bookshelves offer you a classic look that comes in a number of different finishes.

Steel bookcases are lighter and less expensive and can sometimes come in non-traditional finishes like school colors. You can also choose from newer options like those with wood and steel for the classic look without the cost.


You typically have the option of going with adjustable or fixed shelving with each bookcase purchase. Adjustable shelves give you flexibility to change the layout at some point in the future to help make your library a bit different every single year. Fixed shelving, though, may be a must in elementary library settings so students can reach the bookcases.

This information is courtesy of Carroll Seating, one of the country’s largest dealers in the school, institutional, and commercial markets,

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