On Fandom: The Kleefeld Comics Library

By | Friday, February 07, 2014 12 comments
For at least the past decade -- probably a bit longer than that -- I have wanted to build a comic book library for myself. A room that housed not only my comics and graphic novels, but also all of my books and resources about comics; and also have the room serve as a workspace. I wanted to be able to write and research back and forth without having to do any more than take a few steps across the room.

I'd tried doing it on the cheap in my last house, and I was able to make my collection more personally accessible, but I was still resigned to doing my writing elsewhere. In my new house, I've been able to really design it to suit my needs and it's already working exactly how I hoped it would. This week, I've gotten all the major components in place, and I thought I'd share something of a tour.

First, here's my main workspace. I've got my computer and microfiche reader side-by-side, and all of my reference books about comics and comic creators right there. (They still need to be alphabetized, though.) Right underneath my microfiche reader is a portfolio of original art that I don't have room for on the walls. The smaller bookshelf on the right has books on comics fandom and my meager collection of comic strip reprints.
On the other side of the room is the bulk of my comics collection. The graphic novels are stored in standard Ikea bookshelves, but I had a carpenter build specially designed shelving units for my long boxes. It's a pretty straight-forward cubbyhole type of design.
And in the middle is a custom-built daybed sitting atop more longbox shelving. There are some more 'regular' shelving units on one end with some floating shelves on the wall above for my manga.

I put together this video of the progress I made in building my library. At the end, you can see a single, continuous pan of the entire room.
There's still some work that needs to be done, primarily some rewiring for the lighting. But I have really been enjoying it so far, almost to the point where it's difficult to get any actual research or writing done in there! But I'm sure once I get used to having it -- it has been something I've been wanting for over a decade as I said -- it will function exceptionally well for me. But yeah, those random posts and Tweets and such over the past year or two where I've talked about wanting to do this? This is exactly what I was hoping to accomplish!
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12 comments:

Matt K said...

It's BEAUTIFUL.

Big, big, big congratulations. I'm in awe!

Mike Rhode said...

Very nice. I'm jealous.

Thank you, gentlemen!

frank said...

sorry I missed this when you first posted it... the library looks fantastic!

May I ask how much that custom longbox shelf set you back?

Hi, Natasha. I paid for the longbox shelf and the longbox/day bed combo pieces together, so I can't say how much each cost individually but both of them together were a little shy of $2000. Not cheap, certainly, but it was less still less expensive than any other existing comics furniture I've seen to hold the same number of comics.

Dear Mr K,

Thank you for your reply :
"How do you acclimatise your room to your comic collection?"
Cos I do not see any dehumidifier in your set up. Is it necessary in your situation?

Thank you,
Chua - Captain Comics Singapore

Hi, Chua -

I spent some time measuring the humidity in the room before moving my comics in. It stays pretty dry in the room already, so a dehumidifier is not necessary.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I finally have a permanent space to house my collection. I really like the long box shelving and have had the same idea to remake my (non-used) closet into a display area. Can you provide teh build schematics for the shelving or, at least, a parts list?

Great job!

Thanks,

DoM

Unfortunately, I can't. I hired a carpenter to do the work and basically said, "Here are the dimensions of a long box. Can you make a unit that holds six columns and five rows of long boxes to fit in this closet space?" He choose the materials and figured out all the construction. All I did was pay for it.

Hi Sean! I've admired what you did with this room for some time and am imitating many things you have done in my own room. I've opted to switch out my long boxes for shorts ones so I could use the larger grid of Ikea shelves like what you used for your graphic novels (save $ vs custom building.) I was curious what color you painted the walls though? It looks grey in the pictures but the windows wash out a lot of the color and make it hard to tell. I am thinking to go a similar route but I don't want to go too dark that it makes the room feel smaller (it's only 11'10"L x 6'6" W x 7' H) nor too light that my wall art doesn't "pop" against the contrast of color. Thanks!

Hi, Justin! Glad I was able to provide some inspiration!

The walls are about as medium a grey as I could get. The ceiling is a dark grey, about halfway between the walls and black. I deliberately wanted to keep the room itself as neutral as possible because I knew displaying all the comics and art and everything would be a huge sea of colors in the first place; adding additional colors on top of that seemed to me like it would induce visual stress. That's also why I made sure to keep all the furniture white.

I considered just using IKEA shelving for everything as well. (My initial plan was to have two units back to back, and then run the long boxes through both.) I did some calculations, though, and for the number of shelves I needed, it wasn't that much more expensive to get them custom built. Since the custom ones would also fit better in the room, I erred on the side of those. My guess is that I was right about at the tipping point, though -- any fewer shelves and it would've been cheaper to go with IKEA and any more, it would be cheaper to go custom.

I'd love to see what you put together whenever you get finished!