I'm not sure anyone is interested really but let me post some details about the bookshelf and some lessons i learned (keeping in mind that i still have a few more steps to do).
First, regarding anchoring to the wall:
Yes they are anchored to the wall. The wall is plaster and lathe, and we (my father came up and helped me build it - mother visited and helped paint) hoped to be able to drill into the wall to find the 2x4 studs to attach to, but it turns out that the walls are built with a thin metal infrastructure and so couldn't be attached to. So instead, we put up 6 floor-to-celing 1x4s and attached them into the wall with expanding anchors. This basically gave us some planks to attach the pieces to using metal L's that you can't see.
The whole thing is build out of 9 difference components (three 2x6 platforms, three lower pieces which are about 30" high and 5.5 feet long, and three upper pieces which are about 6 feet tall and 5.5 feet long). The 2x6 platforms are to give it a nice raised toekick look -- but in retrospect using 2x6s unnesc. complicated things because those 2x6s are warped and made things less stable.
The lumber is knotty pine. Most of my books told me to use hardwood faced plywood, which in retrospect might have been smarter only because a huge amount of time was spent in the lumberyard picking out the best of the worst wood. One of the lessons I learned in building this is how warped wood is and how tricky that can be. One serious reason to use plywood is to avoid this. If i had it to do over again and was sure I would paint, i might use plywood.
The 5.5 foot lengths are too long a span for full loaded shelfs, so each shelf is going to need a mid support -- i haven't figured out the most aesthetically pleasing way to do this, except that im not going to use a full depth middle support, so i hope to keep the appearance of long spans.
It will be filled entirely with books except for half of the lower tall shelves will be used to store my aging record collection.
For anyone considering building such a thing, some lessons:
1) it's a two man job -- you really do need someone to help you clamp, square, etc.
2) tightbond wood glue is too liquidy for anything but completely flush joints (i grew to hate this glue).
3) pipe clamps are wonderful, and you can get a connector to make long 8ft clamps.
4) use a back (1/4 inch plywood is what we used) -- makes the entire thing much more stable and rigid.
5) use the squaring method trick where you measure from opposite corners and make sure lengths are equal (works great).
6) make a "jig" for your circular saw to ensure accurate cuts.
The whole piece is painted with primer and 2 coats of semigloss white (actually its an off white), with sanding between coats. Why not stain it? I considered staining it but here is why i chose not to. First, we used not great quality knotty wood (if we had tried to use high quality hard wood it would have cost us in the THOUSANDS of dollars in materials). Second, i have no experience at all staining wood and i thought the chance of me messing it up and having it look amateurish was very high. Third, the floor is a nice wood floor and i thought it might be overkill to have a giant wood bookcase also. Fourth, the walls are white and my intention was to make a nice built-in look that merged into the wall.