Rolling Library Ladders: Past and Present

Library ladders are making a comeback, and not in their traditional use. In the ever-evolving home decor trends, library ladders can be part function and part character for your home. But what is the story behind these tall, rolling ladders? Here we look at the history of the rolling library ladder and all the different ways it can and has been used over time.


The library ladder has origins in the Victorian era, around the mid 1800s. At that time, they were exclusively used in libraries, most likely by the extremely wealthy and powerful people of the time. Whereas today a rolling “library” ladder may be implemented in any room of your home for other functions or style, the library ladder initially was for reaching heights of expansive libraries.

Antique library ladders often were shorter than most you see today. They ranged from 5 feet to 8 feet, often times smaller and appearing more like a step ladder. These Victorian rolling ladders had intricate hand carvings on the railings and had larger surface area at the base for support. Compared to the svelte and strong ladders of today, they look bulky. However the style is of skill and effort indicative of the era.

Present Day

In more recent years, rolling library ladders serve a purpose more in general than specifically related to reaching books. Whether you have high kitchen shelving or just high ceilings, a library ladder can help you reach whatever it is that you need. Additionally, there are many custom and unique styles of ladders you can choose from to get something that fits in your home's decor year round.

Most rolling ladders you'll find for your home today range from 8 feet to 10 feet in height. They come with wheels for easy rolling and they'll help you reach high shelves in your closet, pantry, or elsewhere. You can choose from rich wood finishes and even get custom designs or accents. When you order from CS Hardware you can choose from our ready-to-ship ladders or go custom with only a 3-4 week lead time, and you'll be able to install the rolling door where you need to with ease.