Book-lined staircase

A mysterious and magnificent book-lined staircase, provenance unknown. Do you know where this is?

Update: Thanks to sleuthy commenters, who suggest that the photo depicts this staircase, at Australia's Deakin University Library, possibly taken by RuthC and for sale here.

29 October, 2012 (via That Book Smell)



    1. And a library where they know that, for long term preservation and minimal spine damage, books are best shelved that way. I wouldn’t want to be the librarian who has to do the re-shelving, though.

      1. Really?  I was always taught that this caused too much pressure on the foundation books.

  1. I don’t mean to be a concern troll, but isn’t that a bit of an earthquake hazard? I mean if the books are just stacked carefully instead of glued in?

    What if that’s the only point of egress from a basement or such?

    1. You may not mean to be, but you are.

      That said, there are no public buildings built in the past 50 years with with one means of egress.  Earthquake hazards are also strictly regulated in CA and the West Coast, but that’s about it.  You’re not going to have that trouble with about 45 of the 50 states.  Not to mention the other countries of the world.


  2. It doesn’t look to me like those books are ever coming back out again, unless not until the staircase gets remodeled.  I’m not sure if I approve of books being ruined like this, but if they are decommissioned library books then I guess it isn’t that bad…

    But it’d be better if the books were accessible.

  3. Are they really books? Or is it wallpaper, an optical illusion enhanced by the 2D perspective of a photo?

    1. If it’s wallpaper, it’s cunningly designed to look good (only) from the perspective of the bottom of the stairs. I would expect bookspine wallpaper to be designed from a straight-on, perpendicular perspective.

  4. And possible photo credit:

  5. From

    “Students first at Deakin

    The 20,000 volume book wall at Geelong Waurn Ponds library (part of Deakin University) has been described as a celebration of the old book as an object of beauty and interest. It’s just one feature of Deakin’s attempt to refute conceptions of the library as a quiet dusty den, along with a trendy industrialised feel with concrete finishes and exposed fixtures, coupled with a casual lounge feel and what Deakin University Librarian Anne Horn describes as a “fiercely student-centric approach”.

    Sue Owen
    Associate Librarian Client 

    Rebecca Carmichael
    Library Communications 

  6. And from:
    “The book feature wall was undoubtedly the most unique aspect of the project. The book wall screened the internal staircase linking the second and third floors. Made from thirty thousand (30,000) disused books recycled from the library’s own collection. Construction required books to be sawn in half and painstakingly glued together one by one; the whole process taking two months to complete.”

    1. “Sawn in half” – the best part about this torture: if you ever manage to somehow pry out the book yo want, all you get is half!

      (And what did they do with the other halves? Are they as hard to dispose of as the bottoms halves of muffins?)

  7. I’m interested in the how… i guess they must have sorted each book by length and width of the side, then perhaps cut them to the right depth.

    Its beautiful. And I don’t mind the sacrifice of old books… all my books are ebooks now. 

  8. This is my university campus! xD It’s located in Geelong, Australia.

    The books are indeed glued together. No part of the staircase protrudes to the outside world and is entirely contained within the library. Geelong does not get earthquake larger than a 5, so it’s hardly an earthquake hazard.

    And yeah, you can basically punch this wall and have it stay together. It was made by the engineers and is quite strong.

    The wall is approximately 2 books in width, and is made almost entirely of old editions of texts (and other such things that no one wants to read anymore).

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