Bookshelves are a type of block that is often underused in most survival playthroughs of Minecraft. Often deterred by the hefty leather cost required to make all of the books, most players don’t bother to make more than they need to power a simple enchanting table, let alone stock an entire library. To encourage creativity and literacy, this guide will contain design tips for building an aesthetically pleasing library.
Enchanting table library
The most common use for books in a survival playthrough of Minecraft is in setting up an enchanting table. Its nearby library, while appearing very rudimentary, contributes greatly to its enchanting power. In order to reach the highest possible tier of enchantments at level 30, you must surround the table with at least 15 bookshelf blocks, leaving at least one empty block of space between the bookshelves and the table.
Placing any type of block between a bookshelf and the table, even something as small as a torch, will disconnect it from the table, lowering the power of potential enchantments. Hanging overhead light sources, such as lanterns, can illuminate the table without sacrificing its power. While not visually interesting, using an enchanting table as a library centerpiece is a must for the sake of utility.
Library bookshelf walls
As bookshelf blocks share the same rigid, 16-cubic-pixel block shape of most other block types in Minecraft, stacking a series of standard bookshelves can look rather stiff and plain. If you place blocks with more jagged or irregular shapes around a wall of bookshelves, you can add depth to the otherwise flat-looking library feature.
For example, oak stairs can be placed along the inner corners of bookshelf walls, with their sharp angles drawing your eyes toward the books on display. In fact, oak plank items of any type work especially well when framing bookshelf walls, as the actual shelves of the bookshelf block are oak in both texture and material.
Inner library bookshelves
The inner rows of bookshelves within the library are bound to look as flat as their square models would suggest. To give these structures more life, try breaking a few bookshelf blocks here and there, instead texturing these gaps with library-themed decorations and other knick-knacks.
Ideal for this purpose are candles, which, when lit with flint and steel, can apply atmospheric lighting to an otherwise dim library. Acquired skulls can fill this space to give the room a more gothic look, while potted plants and cobwebs can make a library look active and lived-in.
What good are books without a quiet spot to read them in? At the center of this library build is a type of study area with table space, candles, and an overhanging chain-and-lantern chandelier.
A table — or a structure resembling a table — can be built by placing upward-facing pistons on top of redstone blocks. In this setup, the pistons will extend upward, forming a makeshift tabletop.
Library cats and other decorations
Depending on how tall your bookshelves tend to be, a handy ladder or two might be useful to climb to the top of your library. With a means of getting above your bookshelves, you can use this extra space to add additional decorations. For example, lanterns or other light sources can brighten up the library without getting in the way of the books themselves.
Another fan of both high places and cozy libraries are cats. Leading a cat to the top of a bookshelf and giving it a carpet bed to rest on can add some atmospheric meows and a bit of cuteness to the otherwise lonely library.