I was already a full-blown book junky when I was slowly going through the stacks at George Mason University library where I was doing "work/study" and I pulled off the shelf a copy of Among the Gently Mad by Nicholas Basbanes. Well, I went on to devour all his books. Some were a bit tedious but for the most part, these books were instantly digestible.
I got a lot out of the books, and realized that I was more than a mild collector of books. It was something of an obsession. Not that I would give my lunch money for an old book, nor throw out my kids toys to make room for more shelving but I definitely had a hankering for books. And I was learning as I went.
My trips to used bookstores goes back at least 20 years, to my time at Temple University. Even before, but it became more serious then. I would check out the books in the discount bin of "the-corporate-bookstore-in-the-mall". I remember seeing the film "Henry & June" and leaving the theater and marching right over the such a bookstore in the mall and grabbing a copy of the book, which was discounted 75%.
I began with a small shelf in my bedroom at my parent's house and then, once on my own, the cinder block and 2 x 4 shelving units. Only when moving to Philadelphia in 2002 with Katy Jean did I begin to become more serious about my mass of books. Of course, we moved into an apartment with bookshelves built into what had been closets throughout the place.