The Daily Goodie

TDG: Swoon-Worthy Libraries

So I know there’s been some debate on the internet among word nerds about the decision to own and embrace a Kindle. I know this post may make it seem like I’m picking a side, what with all the library porn and all, but it’s not the case. And not just because I don’t have the funding to buy one right now.

See, I don’t think Kindles are going to kill books. We now know that they won’t kill the publishing industry, but people are worried now about the fate of actual books. I think books will continue to be printed, although on a less of a massive scale. Books may return to their former position in society, although hopefully with a less elitist bent. The mass production of books (paperbacks and the like) is a relatively new phenomenon. Throughout history, books were special, not just because only a select few could read them, but because of the labor-intensive craftmanship that went into making each one. Maybe in the near future there will simply be fewer books made and printed, and those will be treasured hardcovers instead of little broken-spine paperbacks. (Don’t worry, I own and love more than a few of those.)

The fact remains that independent of books or reading, people love libraries. I don’t mean the school library where you had to learn how to use the card catalog (woooo Olds!) and spend hours looking things up, although those who really love research may enjoy them. I mean the more leisurely libraries that are associated with reading for pleasure. In people’s homes. In museums.  They are quiet, thoughtful places where you can make a peaceful retreat. Whether or not you feel like reading anything, the possibility of all those books, all that information, or the adventure inside each one is both comforting and inspiring. I don’t think something like that could ever be threatened by e-readers. I think, somehow, they will be able to coexist.

Sorry. Too much for a Friday morning? Without further ado, some simply lovely libraries.

A home library with wood paneled walls
I want to curl up on that leather chair. Forever
The JP Morgan Library in New York
The JP Morgan Library in New York
Large library shelf with tall ladder
Anyone else have an urge to see the books at the top first?
Trinity College, Dublin, which houses the Book of Kells
Trinity College, Dublin, which houses the Book of Kells
Library from Disney's Beauty and the Beast
And, of course, the gold standard: The Beast's library

Photos: Getty, Disney, radicalpatron,

32 replies on “TDG: Swoon-Worthy Libraries”


OH my Lords of Kobol!! I’m FINALLY getting a vacation/honeymoon with Wash!!!
The parents worked with me and the doctors and Wash and I are going away (locally) to a nice resort for 7 days.
I’m still in shock. Gotta make sure Wash lives to enjoy it with me.

Good news for anyone else?

-Also I could live the rest of my life in the Bodleian.

I love libraries and books as much as the next person. By the end of my undergraduate degree I had somewhere around 400 books to my name.

That being said, if you’re a person who travels a lot for work (or for fun) an e-reader is amazing. I have a kobo (the Canadian kindle and before I leave home I fill it uo with books, toss it in my backpach, and it is a heck of a lot less weight to lug around.

I’ve got nothing on libraries, though I would very much like to have one. I’ve been following all the news on the reporter who started slurring at the Grammys, because when I first watched the clip I recognized what happened. The same thing happened to me once, a couple years ago, and she describes everything the exact same way. Knowing the words but being unable to say them, feeling the numbness, knowing something was really, really wrong. I thought I was going to die when it happened to me. I should really stop reading about it (and thinking about it), but it’s like pressing a bruise to see if it still hurts. Spoiler warning: it does.

I want to build my own personal library in my home. A room lined in wood (ie wood paneling but with more slats of wood and less composite paneling) with wood bookshelves that reach the ceiling.

I have the room all picked out and ready. I just have to sign the loan agreement. The numbers on it are very high. It is beyond frightening. My broker is still on vacation too so I can’t get questions answered yet.

I just want my own library! Let me be great!

(I have never considered myself a patient person…)

Wow, that sounds awesome!

We’re in the process of converting our double back into a single family home, and the goal is to turn the former upstairs kitchen into a library/study/reading room. (We haven’t settled on a name yet, ha.) Certainly nothing as fancy as built in wood shelves to the ceiling, but I am still super excited for it… whenever it actually happens. The room has been torn down to studs for a year without much movement. Anyway, I can’t even imagine how excited you are with your grand plans! You’ll have to share pictures with us all when it’s finally done.

Why is it that whenever I have somewhere really important to go, ALL the technology totally fails? For example:I’m currently supposed to be on a plane to my hometown to hold my best friend’s hand while he finds out if he has testicular cancer or chronic epididymitis. However, first the light rail to the airport broke down and we got put on a special bus with a bus driver who didn’t know how to get to the airport, and now my plane is grounded indefinitely because of a “mechanical issue”. Meanwhile, my best friend just started his first appointment of the day, and there’s a chance that I won’t get there in time for him to pick me up and then go with him to find out the test results. Fuck this noise.

In lighter news, check out my favorite library’s outside: and inside:

It’s the Suzzalo Library at the University of Washington and is basically Hogwarts.

Two summers ago I took my parents to the Trinity College Library in Dublin. The pictures, lovely as they are, never manage to capture the special light in that room – all the images I’ve seen look kind of dark, which the Library isn’t at all. My dad is a devoted librarian, and seeing him gapig at those shelves, surrounded by that diaphanous light, he seriously looked like he was having some kind of epiphany.

Another good one: the labyrinthine library in The Name of the Rose. Who else cried for the books at the end of that movie?

Once I saw the title of this post the first thing I thought was the Beauty & the beast library. I’ve always thought that once I win the lottery I will build a replica of that library. And I think I’ll take a trip to the local library this afternoon I haven’t been there in a bit, thanks for the idea.

I’m going to talk about something other than books. Warning: if medical stuff squicks you out… yeah, this is not the conversation for you.

Okay, so I’m doing medical writing now, right? And it’s cool, because I do not medically squick easily. I’ve had to get regular injections for years. I will happily tell the story of the surgeries I’ve been awake for (woke up during Wisdom Teeth, was completely awake [albeit en-Valiumed] for Lasik…) and describe things like, oh, the smell of my burning eyeball.

Every once in a while, though… eugh. I encounter something that just makes my skin crawl. In this case, a vertical incision thigh lift. Anyone have good sources of, like… fluffy bunny pictures? I hesitate to use “I can has cheezburger” because there is maybe 1 good new cat out of 20 posted.

I totally did that office email joke that is in every office comedy – where the rude email gets copied to the wrong person. Eek! I realized right away and followed up with an apology (and a bigger one to my boss) but, CRAP! Thankfully it wasn’t *too* awful – I just said I thought something was “a little rude.” But like I said – Crap. This is why we don’t check our work emails first thing on our day off!

Neil Gaiman has posted photos of his personal library before and it’s swoon worthy.

I don’t ask for a lot out of life and I don’t have a lot of physical things I covet, but there are two things I’d really like to have; I’d like to own a horse and I’d like to have a house with a dedicated library room. I don’t think it’s a lot to ask out of life.

Maaaan, I need more room for my books. I’m starting to get piles.

Or I need to get an e-reader (there are more types than just the Kindle! And the Kindle has its own issues… can only buy books from Amazon, so no comparison shopping, and I’ve heard from reputable sources that Amazon is not so nice to authors) for all the impulse buys that I make.

Ooh, it kind of looks like Hogwarts!

One of my dreams is to eventually have the space and money to have our own little library room. Right now my books are divided between my little bookshelf in my apartment, my bookshelves in my old bedroom in my parents’ house, and tubs in my parents’ basement, so I don’t think it will be happening for quite a while.

Since we’re reminiscing about libraries, do you know what I miss most about the libraries of my youth? The vertical file. I mean, sure, I can spend an hour or two on Google and find way more than I probably could have in the vertical file, but it’s not quite the same thing. I loved the big maps and stuff the best, but it was also nice if I was feeling bored to just open, say, the J drawer and see if I could find anything interesting to look at and spread stuff all over the table looking at it.

For all you youngs out there who don’t know what it is, a vertical file was pretty much just a huge file system sorted by subject, and you could find news clippings and posters and maps and photos and other information in there about tons of different things.

My favourite Library is the Picton Reading Room in Liverpool UK. It has the most beautiful domed ceiling. I can’t find a picture that does it justice although this one gets pretty close:

I’m considering buying a Kindle as my small house has run out of space for any more paperbacks. My only problem is that Kindles don’t have the smell of new books. Also, I can’t borrow *cough* steal *cough* Kindle books from my family and acquaintances.

Leave a Reply