The Christian Science Monitor has a story about private libraries. This sounds rather nice: “The Boston Athenaeum, dating back to 1807, is the country’s largest such institution, with 600,000 volumes (in addition to more than 500 pieces of art) and 5,000 members. Stepping through its red leather doors at 10-1/2 Beacon Street is a little like falling down Alice’s rabbit hole. Within the 12-story structure, now in the throes of its 200th birthday party, lies an elegant hodgepodge â€“ part library, part museum, part gallery. There is little delineation between where one part leaves off and the next begins: Paintings hang in every room, busts are nestled between bookshelves, and the books themselves â€“ colorful, leatherbound â€“ are works of art.
“Just beyond the circulation desk, a gold plaque reads “Here remains a retreat for those who would enjoy the humanity of books.””
By the way, if you want to own your own piece of the museum and make your own Athenaeum at home, you can buy these wonderful replica bookends from Levenger.