Just Like the Library of Congress


After almost six months of donkey work on the new storefront, today we began the real donkey work of moving the Lost Art Press library to 837 Willard St. I don’t know if we’ll even get a quarter of it moved down there in time for the opening next weekend, but we managed to get the core books in place today.

Most of the woodworking books I refer to every day are in a 7’-tall bookcase I built that is based on Thomas Jefferson’s shelves at Monticello. (See my shelves here; see the reproductions at Monticello here.)

Jefferson sold much of his library to the government in 1815 and it became the backbone of the Library of Congress, a story you can read about here. Because of the modular nature of the bookcases, Jefferson’s slaves were able to stuff the units with paper, nail on lids and put them in carriages bound for Washington, D.C.

Today we moved the books to Willard Street in the same way, but without the nailed-on lids. Or slaves.

Tomorrow is more moving of books. Predictions for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: moving books. Thursday: Wondering if I have too many books. Friday: Back to scanning AbeBooks.com.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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10 Responses to Just Like the Library of Congress

  1. jessamyn says:

    Now you are trolling me with this Library of Congress stuff. Also: I have learned a thing. Happy moving.


  2. oldret1sg says:

    After moving for a few more days, you may re-think the slave statement.


  3. Thank you for not using slaves, Chris. Headed to Covington from St. Louis on Thursday morning, hoping to check out the new digs!


  4. jimarrington says:

    Chris.. Have you ever tried fetchbook.info ?


  5. turdfighter says:

    I built a version of those shelves, I love them!


  6. Kim Howarter says:

    I was looking at the article on the Jefferson shelves last night thinking about how I am going to replace the 350″ of “Billy” shelf space currently in use and have room for more books. Just finished gluing up my boarded bookshelf. Kind of glad I don’t have as many books as your collection.
    Hope the move and opening next Saturday goes smoothly!


  7. avhb says:

    That little library stool is very nice. I don’t recall seeing one quite like it — all the essential function of the big patent library chairs, but instead of clearing a space, pulling the chair out, turning it around, upending most of the chair over on itself, and hoping the cat wasn’t under any of the piles of books that got knocked over — you just casually flip half the seat up, and there you are. Very elegant. Is it one of yours? Have you written about it anywhere?


  8. meanmna says:

    I have a question regarding when they are in use as book cases vs. book boxes. When assembled for display, are they fastened to each other, or do they just sit one on top of the other and allow gravity to keep them in place? If the latter, anything in between the shelves/boxes to keep them from sliding back and forth or side to side if nudged?


  9. gregla2 says:

    I like the step stool with the hinged top in the background of the picture. Where is the design from?
    Best wishes for the move and open house.


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