August, 2016

Special books & memorable libraries

Posted on: 23 August 2016 by John


A post related to the installation 100 Libraries, 99 Books:

The library that stands out the most for me was a nameless wall of books in my junior high school in Endiang, Alberta. It doesn't exist anymore and the kids from our area of Alberta have to bus to the larger centres for school, over an hour ride, one-way, for some of them. It was the maroon cover that did it for me. The memorable book was The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. • GS

Probably my favorite library of all time is the Greater Victoria Public Library, Main Branch in Victoria, BC. The atrium at the library was a very special place where I would sit and meditate and play my guitar for hours and hours when I was homeless. • DJ

The library at University College at University of Toronto. When I attended UofT in the late 80s this library was always almost empty. It was quiet, had large wooden tables to work at, and a long series of arched windows, so full of natural light. Working there always made the work seem more pleasant. There was always a very large dictionary at the front of the library on it's own little table, which gave it such importance...and being before google it was most useful! I wonder if it is still there? • TV

The best time I ever had at a library was at the beautiful Morrison Library Reading Room at UC Berkeley in 1984. I was in Berkeley for a friend's wedding, but took Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus (in Greek) to read as it was part of a big exam I was studying for. I had never looked at it before, but found I could read through it pretty well. This was partly due to the Greek, much less challenging than most tragedy I'd read, and partly because the air on the Berkeley campus was scented with eucalyptus, and the reading room had big comfy chairs (at that time floral chintz) and light wood panelling and made me happy, and I had all day just to read and think. In fact, that day was my favourite moment as a student, just Aeschylus and me in conversation in a pretty place. • LW

The obvious one for me is the Library of Celsus in Ephesus. It is a most stunning, almost imposing facade. I've visited it many times, since I was a child, and it is a very emotional place to be. The structure, of course, is ancient, and what is striking is that the reverence given to a library at that time. It's a powerful, beautiful and breathtaking facade. And that today one can still experience it! You can envision the scrolls that would have been housed there. The fact that it housed scrolls versus books also is interesting. • TV

If you'd like to contribute your stories about a book and-or a library, please email me — John