Thursday, June 04, 2009

Library porn

Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura Rio De Janeiro 3 

“Libraries gave us power,” said the Manics.  That’s how I felt when I first discovered the local library as a youngster, but having checked out many of the country’s library’s in recent years I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t now. It’s not power they give you now, but indigestion.

RIJKMUSEUM-AMSTERDAMEvery council in the country seems to have the idea that bigger is better – bigger, that is, when it comes to blowing the budget on the building instead of the books.

Libraries aren’t about books now, they’re about “communities.” They’re about looking good.  But they’re rarely, if at all, about books.

Every library I’ve visited in recent months is “new and improved” -- which seems to mean that its book stacks are now anaemic, an dhidden “down the far end,” while the building designed to house them suffers from grandomania.  Acres of space is given over to entrances and meeting areas and spaces for “culturally appropriate” community activities, but the space given over to actual books in these places is decidedly the poorer cousin.

If knowledge is power, then the country’s libraries have given up the struggle.  Grandomania has beaten purpose.

Not so however with the wonderful libraries pictured here, taken from the hundreds collected at Librophiliac: a Compendium of Beautiful Libraries. My thanks to Danyl for sending me there (and giving me the title for this post).  These are my idea of what real libraries looks like.

TRINITY-COLLEGE-LIBRARY-DUB ()

The three beauties pictured here are (from top to bottom) the Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; the Rijkmuseum Library, Amsterdam; and the Trinity College Library, AKA, The Long Room, Dublin, Ireland.

Labels:

7 Comments:

Blogger Greig McGill said...

Libraries give us power. Ex-Libraries give us happiness. What more could we want?

6/04/2009 08:14:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

There are about as many books in the ex-library Galbraith's as there are now in your average library.

6/04/2009 08:57:00 am  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

That's as maybe, but after the fourth pint of Bitter and Twisted, the pain of that realisation is somehow dulled. :)

6/04/2009 10:01:00 am  
Blogger Shane Pleasance said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bh8bDjQg84

Books are burning - xtc.

Books are burning
In the main square, and I saw there
The first eating the text
Books are burning
In the still air
And you know where they burn books
People are next
I believe the printed word should be forgiven
Doesn't matter what it said
Wisdom hotline from the dead back to the living
Key to the larder for your heart and head
Books are burning
In our own town, watch us turn 'round
And cast our glances elsewhere
Books are burning
In the playground
Smell of burnt book is not unlike human hair
I believe the printed word is more than sacred
Beyond the gauge of good or bad
The human right to let your soul fly free and naked
Above the violence of the fearful and sad
The church of matches
Anoints in ignorance with gasoline
The church of matches
Grows fat by breathing in the smoke of dreams
It's quite obscene
Books are burning
More each day now, and I pray now
You boys will tire of these games
Books are burning
I hope somehow, this will allow
A phoenix up from the flames

6/04/2009 10:14:00 am  
Blogger Ayrdale said...

...the internet is the biggest library in the world...but the books are all over the floor.

Anon.

6/04/2009 12:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Frankie Lee said...

Now that's a sight for sore eyes! Libraries completely and unashamedly dedicated to reading. Beautiful.

The problem with public libraries these days is that they're expected to be all things to all people.

6/04/2009 12:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Mr Dennis said...

I thought I recognised Trinity College, it's a great place to visit. Unfortunately they don't actually let you read the old books as a visitor, scared you'll damage them I suppose (many are hundreds of years old), you can just look at them. That's practical, they need to preserve them, but it's a shame it has to be that way.

6/04/2009 09:35:00 pm  

Post a Comment

Respond with a polite and intelligent comment. (Both will be applauded.)

Say what you mean, and mean what you say. (Do others the courtesy of being honest.)

Please put a name to your comments. (If you're prepared to give voice, then back it up with a name.)

And don't troll. Please. (Contemplate doing something more productive with your time, and ours.)

Links to this post:

<< Home