Had an interesting conversation with a friend who is a joiner. Well, a ship's carpenter which means he is an elite joiner who can turn his hand to other skills as well. The problem is still fitting a library into a smaller size study without major deletions from my catalogue. So the large clothes cupboard in this modest room, given a ship's carpenter's skills, will provide another 23 feet of shelving and some filing space. The Tardis principle. Or maybe a jig saw puzzle - all the pieces only fit together one way?
While discussing the problem I mentioned a number of suggestions made by well meaning friends, that I should just downsize my library, get rid of surplus, expel the excess. Didn't mention Stuart's much more convenient suggestion to give them to him :)) Anyway, said my friend, I paraphrase, but accurately, - "I have a tool kit, and several planes, saws, chisels, hammers, and need a wee trailer to carry them to go and do a job. Your library is a tool kit - you'll get rid of something and then you'll need it. A library isn't just books - it's a lifelong collection of the things you do your work with." I love a man who understands. I showed him my prized Cambridge hardback edition of the George Herbert's poems and explained the extended mortgage needed to buy it. It's inconceivable I'd part with it. It and the vast majority of my books are not bought on impulse - they are chosen companions, resident scholars of choice, conversation partners, gifts of thought and ideas that have made me who I am. Sure some of them can go.
But I have an annual review of my whole library anyway, have done every year for decades, and a box or two go away each year to new homes. So we spent time conspiring against the limitations of space, doing the math, planning and measuring so as to have adequate shelving without the study being overwhelmingly stuffed - I also like wall space for my pictures, and a sense of beauty as well as utility.