I have so many distractions at my day job. First being that I would rather be home writing than reviewing the work of those poor souls whom I supervise. Second being how much fun my co-workers are and how much I am learning about them. Writers love to learn about people. Third might be the wonderful names that come up in our files and in our staff. I can’t use a name that is too individualized, but one that is fairly common and right for a character, then I add it to the list.
But no lower than tenth on the list is the set of images on my desktop of beautiful libraries of the world. I wish more of the images had some indication of where the library exists, but that would cost extra. So I have gone digging for the information, and maybe for a few more lovely book palaces.
Pictures are awesome. But when you look at these, many of them of places older than my entire country’s oldest library, imagine what it smells like to be surrounded by those old books. Leather and paper and ink, dust and scholars, and curiosity. Imagine the sounds, muted and gentle, as reverent as a cathedral.
Sadly, this site took the very intelligent step of protection from possible legal action and removed almost all the photos posted there. I believe by only posting links to various sites, I am not violating any copyright rules. (Have your lawyer call my lawyer if you have other information) But she did leave up some incredibly valuable information pages, like designing your own library, and links to books about libraries. (http://www.beautiful-libraries.com/)
One of my favorite photos on my desktop collection turns out to be Trinity College Library in Ireland. Here’s a site with many photos of such delights, with Trinity at the top. Numbers 5 and 10 also look familiar. Interesting to note that Canada has several entries in the list, the USA start after those, with the Library of Congress at number 29. (http://mentalfloss.com/article/51788/62-worlds-most-beautiful-libraries)
The BBC includes a few more modern libraries in their list, but look! There’s Trinity College again! (http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20131113-the-most-spectacular-libraries) The Buddhist Scriptures carved on wood slabs take my breath away. The written word contains so much power that we have recorded it by any means available.
One might think Architectural Digest would have a different look at libraries than a bookophile, but not so much. There’s that same picture of Trinity College’s Long Room. (http://www.architecturaldigest.com/architecture/2013-11/most-beautiful-libraries-trinity-college-mushashino-bodleian-sainte-genevieve-article) They do wonder if it’s the beautiful Library that brings more tourists to the Long Room, or the priceless Book of Kells preserved there.
Flavorwire narrows its collection to college libraries, so yes, there’s Trinity College’s Long Room, same photo. Hope the photographer is getting some money from this shot! (http://flavorwire.com/240819/the-25-most-beautiful-college-libraries-in-the-world/)
That same entity also has a collection of beautiful personal and private libraries, without Trinity, I’m afraid. (http://flavorwire.com/261320/20-beautiful-private-and-personal-libraries) But does include George Lucas’s and Neil Gaiman’s. And also not including Trinity, a collection of the most beautiful public libraries. (http://flavorwire.com/280318/the-25-most-beautiful-public-libraries-in-the-world/) This answers that age-old question, what’s pink on the outside, gold on the inside, and has books?
New on my Bucket List is a visit to the George Peabody Library in Baltimore! Thanks to the Daily Telegraph for putting this list together and bringing it to my attention. But they didn’t include Trinity. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10382588/The-most-spectacular-libraries-in-the-world.html?frame=2705752)
CNN’s list is labeled exquisite, and you will notice repetitions from the other lists. However, I really like the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, New Haven, U.S. where all the light comes in through golden translucent rock. (http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/27/world/gallery/most-beautiful-libraries-in-the-world/)
San Diego, my home town of sorts, just built a new library. I had been in the old one a few times, but have yet to make it down to see the new structure. Everything I hear about it is positive. There are 9 stories, including two dedicated to a Charter High School. (https://www.sandiego.gov/public-library/about-the-library/projects/newcentral.shtml) (video from opening day http://www.cbs8.com/story/23565204/new-central-library-opens-to-public-monday-morning)
Let’s face it, what brings people in to libraries are the books and available services. My home town in San Diego’s East county had a great library, if small. I looked it up and I am happy to report it has been remodeled. That made me curious about other city libraries. A German review named Chicago’s Public Library as the best urban book repository in the U.S. And third in the world. Pretty cool, huh? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Public_Library) Wikipedia has a great history of the library, which started just after the Great Chicago Fire with donations from a project called The English Book Donation. (What is up with making libraries PINK?)
Like most would-be authors, I would love on a future day to walk in to any of the libraries presented here and see my own work on the shelf. Or in the catalogue of e-books. If the Friends of the Library want to stage a book signing, I’ll be there! Have a great week.