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A bookcase, also known as a reading room table, is usually a smaller piece of furniture having several flat shelves, and often in a single cabinet, to store printed materials or other books. They are used in public, private, and university libraries, offices, and bookstores. You will find them made of wood, metals like iron and steel, glass, and many kinds of man-made materials. The designs tend to follow specific themes.

In a less traditional version, the bookcase is usually a simple multi-drawer wardrobe or chest, sometimes containing a small drawer for documents and papers. Most commonly they are barrister type and have an upper panel containing one or more glass panes, with hinges on the lower panels. It can be hinged at its base on one or more side panels, with the hinges concealed within the cabinet's sides and lid. Several bookcase styles use a combination of these components.

Many modern bookcases use what are called sliding doors, which are easily opened, but lock securely when not in use. In some types of these, the interior shelf is fixed with the front or rear doors of the unit, and the exterior shelf is hinged on the inside of the cabinet. In a few more expensive models, the interior shelving is fixed with a latch, and the exterior shelves open in an accordion or wing configuration. Of course, it is the height of the bookcase that provides the storage need, and these are the most common in public libraries and offices. In a few select private bookstores, however, the doors are closed and the shelves are made of non-slip glass.

Another variation of the bookcase is the bookcase that sits on its side on a set of shelves. In this case, the interior doors swing out, allowing easy access to all sides of the bookcase. Some bookcases have hinges along their entire length. These are usually made of iron and are very heavy; others are made of wood, but are not secure, since the hinges are visible.

Finally, you have the bookcase with no doors; it is like a large chest, or a trunk, with a lid over it on top of a series of shelves. In this case, you store books at the bottom of the bookcase, and the lids provide a way to close the lid while you work inside the bookcase. Most modern bookcases have a combination of hinged and fixed shelves; however, in older models, you may find one without any shelves. These are ideal for storing only volumes or smaller items since there is no need to open the bookcase top to get to any other items.

Regardless of the style and size of the bookcase you buy, keep in mind that it should be sturdy and stable. Many bookcases are designed to be strong and durable, but they can also be quite beautiful if they are made correctly. Glass doors are popular because they add a certain elegance to bookcases, making them more attractive than traditional wooden bookcases. They also add an extra layer of protection between the bookcase and your books, preventing scratches, dents, and bookmarks on the covers. However, if you have an antique bookcase with glass doors, you may want to have your antique appraiser take a look to make sure that the bookcase is as old as it claims to be.