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.

Library Ladders

rolling library ladder

A simple way to add functionality and style to any room in your home is with a rolling ladder. The purpose of a rolling ladder is to access those hard-to-reach places with ease. An added bonus is that the ladders provide a classy look to your home and can become the main attraction of your room.

There are so many uses for rolling ladders, so there’s no need to doubt that they will work in your home. One of the most popular uses is for a library ladder. Not only will this help you reach books on the highest shelves, but it also offers an expensive and elegant look. Even though a library is usually the first place that pops in your mind, there are other common uses for these rolling ladders. These include using one in your wine cellar to reach your finest vino, in a bathroom to reach guest’s towels and toiletries, in a closet to access stored clothing or even in a kitchen or pantry to reach for canned goods or pots and pans.

They allow you to reach all those items that you have stored higher up in order to optimize your storage space- something that is crucial to most homeowners.

One of the many features of these rolling library ladders is their ability to be customized. When selecting a ladder, you get to choose from your favorite type of wood, shade of finish, type of upper guides and style of ladder wheels. These options allow you to find the ladder that matches perfectly with your home’s style and décor. Popular finishes for the hardware include antique brass, bronze and satin nickel, while popular wood choices include oak, maple and cherry.

It’s important to make sure your ladder is properly installed for the safety of you and your family. It’s best to have a professional install the ladder to prevent any accidents from happening. Make sure everything is properly measured and that the space of the room is taken into account when ordering your ladder. After all of this, just customize the aesthetic to your liking and you have a new addition to your home.