Library Love is the second topic of the first day of Armchair BEA 2015. In honour of this theme, I will be blogging from the library today, or at least for part of today!
Librarians are awesome. Not only are they helpful, they're very fun to talk to and give great recommendations. Show your library love, and the wonderful men and women that run it. Why is your library fantastic? Got any funny stories? Feature your library on your blog? Do an interview with a librarian?I won't be doing an interview with a librarian because my library is a University library and all of the people here feel very senior and like they have too much to do for me to awkwardly shuffle up to them. They're all absolutely lovely though when I was freaking out in the last three years because I couldn't find a book that I thought was crucial to my essays.
Libraries and Me
Unfortunately I never really got into libraries when I was a teenager, but as a child I utterly loved them! I would go and browse the shelves for hours, or so it felt, and always left with at least three books! The old library at where I used to live in the Netherlands was the kind with shelves upon shelves and light that was both dim enough to be cosy but bright enough so you could find and read your books. Unfortunately I sort of lost touch with the library when I went to high school and started needing to own my own books. I didn't like sharing them with other people because I'm a book hoarder! (Confession time: who here religiously hoards books like you're Smaug and books are the Arkenstone?!)
University of Nottingham: Hallward Library
And then I came to University and realized that I wouldn't survive if I didn't go visit the library. And once I reentered the library (on the right) I was lost forever. I mean, shelves upon shelves of books which will not only help me get good grades but will also learn me things I'd never have thought of? Hell's to the Yeah! So over the last three years I have spent a ridiculous amount of time here, both sweating blood and tears over essays and happily perusing and reading. The only downside is that there is no real Fiction-section. Of course it has the classics since I study English and it needs to stock our texts, but there are no modern or contemporary books that aren't academic. Hence, I have to get all of those online or from bookstores, not that this is much of a hardship.
The funniest thing that ever happened in Hallward was when I went there with one of my housemates, Molly. We were doing some serious and some not so serious studying and then she went to get a drink. After a few minutes I got a text from her asking me to covertly stand up so she could find me because she'd forgotten where we sat. Mind, we were surrounded by severely stressed students. So I, already trying to contain my laughter, stood up and apparently did so awkwardly because she had to hide behind a shelf laughing, drawing more attention to us. This went on for a good 10 minutes until we'd both calmed down enough to resume work. We ended up leaving early because everything was cracking us up and she kept sending me hilarious videos!
Next year I'll be moving on to St. Andrews in Scotland for an MLitt (a Masters programme) in Medieaval English (not a typo). Of course St. Andrews also has a library, actually, it has multiple ones and some are all fancy and old-looking which'll make me feel like I'm finally studying in Hogwarts! I can't wait to difgin to their archives and see what they've got!
Favourite Literary Library
I decided to end this post by bringing it back to literature and emphasizing this year's BEA theme: diversity. My favourite library that I've ever read about is the one in Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Cemetery of Forgotten Books-series. I know that the Cemetery doesn't necessarily count as a library, but I'm just going to pretend that nobody knows that! What I love about this specific "libary" so much is that it seems so non-discriminating. If you think a book is worth saving or if a book is important to you, then it has deserved its spot there. There are no questions about language, gender or race of the author, time of writing, etc. Books are preserved there which have been important to people and I think that if publishing got back to that core then diversity would be a logical next step!
People care a lot about books and about how they're represented in literature and if there was a move back to publishing, en masse, books for people to love and identify with rather than books for people to make money off, we may be able to solve some of these problems of representation. On that slightly, potentially, depressing note, I'm closing this post.
What is your favourite library? If you've put a Library Love or Introductions post up, leave a link in the comments so we can come visit!