Library Porn

by J.D. Rhoades

No, not the kind that features hot librarians (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) 

 

 

Lately, I seem to keep stumbling across (and saving) these amazing,  beautiful pictures I find online of libraries around the world. So I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.

This one is currently my computer  desktop:

 

It’s the “Long Room” at the Trinity College Library in Dublin. Sadly, I understand it’s more of a museum now than an actual reading room. Still, it’s iconic enough that George Lucas reportedly used the image as the basis for the Jedi Archives in Attack of the Clones:

 Trinity, I hear, was even contemplating legal action at one time. Not sure how you’d copyright a building, but that’s not my field of law.

There there’s this little lovely, taken at the Annex of the Senate Library in the Palais de Luxembourg in Paris:

  

Looks like miles and miles of books. Mmmmmm……

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale looks like some futuristic computer core:

While the Thomas Fisher Rare Book collection at the University of Toronto is an awe-inspiring tower of words upon words upon words…

 No post on this subject, of course, would be complete without a link to this, the panoramic view of the interior of the Strahov Philosophical Library in Prague. The pic is  a big mother, 40 gigapixels in fact, so I figured I’d best not try to embed it here. But if you’re a lover of books and libraries, check it out and look around. It’ll make your eyes pop out of your head  like you were in a cartoon.

 

I love these libraries.  They’re like temples. They not only hold lovely and inspiring works of art, they’re works of art in their own right.

So…share with us,  if you will. Point us at pics of your favorite libraries.

 

27 thoughts on “Library Porn

  1. Art Battiste

    As a former president of the Canadian Library Trustees Association, I know that library organizations across our country are planning additions or replacements or new buildings, and would find a gallery such as this most interesting and possibly useful. I am certain that there are hundreds of new and old exciting renditions of "library" that have never been widely publicized…this may be an opportunity to do so. Also, as a writer, the more of these fascinating and unusual places that are shown the better for me and other authors who are always on the lookout for something different.

  2. PK the Bookeemonster

    My hometown library hasn't changed in the 40 years I've known it. And it needs to … to be updated, that is. Funding for improvement keeps going before the voters and it keeps getting shot down. That is something I completely do not understand.

  3. JD Rhoades

    PK, I share your bewilderment. Libraries are repositories of our culture, even in the electronic age. It's a shame that that's not more of a priority.

  4. Richard Maguire

    Ah…Trinity College, J.D. A bit of a shock seeing it on Murderati – though I've recovered. But nice to see that wonderful room again, after all these years of living abroad. Trinity was where (unfortunately) I studied law. Took the wrong road, don't you know… Realised it, gritted my teeth, and, despite myself, became a lawyer. (Ah, but eventually I went straight.)

    I must be one of the few people on the planet who hasn't seen STAR WARS or any of its sequels or prequels. Just say "Science fiction movie", and I lose the will to live.

  5. Tess Gerritsen

    Dusty, these photos are breathtaking! I wish I had a photo of my childhood neighborhood library, but I'm afraid it wouldn't look architecturally interesting. Just an institutional building with lots of bookshelves. But then, it's the books themselves that make the building spectacular, isn't it?

  6. Zoรซ Sharp

    Great images, Dusty – I think Paris and Toronto are my favourites. And loved the Manhattan one, too, Alafair.

    Just tell me – how does anybody get any studying done. I'd spend all my time gaping at the architecture!

  7. David Corbett

    I have to admit, the two library memories that came to me first upon reading your post involved fooling around in the graduate stacks with two of my lovelier, more lascivious classmates.

    (What can I say — I found the library very, well, stimulating. So damn quiet, just begging for …)

    On a more serious note, yes, requesting funding for local libraries is like asking to build a flying saucer on the city's dime. And yet go to any local library at 3-6 PM and see how many kids seek out a place to not just read but be safe.

    There is a cathedral-like quality to the images you and Alafair showed. In a much smaller, more intimate way, the Morrison Library on the UC Berkeley Campus was always a nice little hideaway: http://berkeley.edu/photos/libraries/source/morrison.html

    Here's one of the general reading rooms at Bancroft Library — not quite as astonishing as your images, but it was home during my time at Cal: http://golfkat.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/an-old-blue-trip-back-to-the-sixties/ucb5/

    My undergrad days at OSU included many hours spent in rooms like this one: http://travelcompanionblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/summer-osu-main-library-076_7_8_hdr.jpg

    And yes, the aforementioned library liaisons took place in those two locales.

    Ah … libraries. LIbris. Lubricious…

  8. JD Rhoades

    Alafair, I always said, if I had to be homeless, I want to do it in Manhattan so I could hang out in that library. It was one of the first things I wanted to see when I went to NY.

  9. pari noskin taichert

    Dusty,
    I tried to download a photo of the reading room at the grad library at the University of Michigan and my computer got seven viruses. So I'll refrain. Let's just say that that reading room made my years at the U of M really wonderful. I spent many many hours there.

  10. Reine

    Oh sorry, can't get that poetry room right. Pic might be protected. Oh well. It's small intimate, very cozy and comfy furniture.

  11. PD Martin

    Hi JD,
    What beautiful pics. I've been to Dublin a few times (my hubby's Irish, although from Cork) but never been in Trinity's library. A stop for my next visit!

    Phillipa

  12. Reine

    Thanks, JD!

    Hah! Yup. No wonder I couldn't find it. It's in Lamont, and I did a search using Houghton, the library next door. That photo is good and shows the intimate nature of the room but not the hugely comfy aspect. Anyway, that was my study space for like ever. OK, it only felt like forever.

  13. KDJames

    Wow. What amazing pictures. And that panoramic link made me dizzy. I agree with Zoรซ, though — how would a person ever stop staring at the architecture long enough to read anything?

    Our little local branch of the library was on the list of those to be closed a few years ago. Everyone put up such a fuss that they expanded it and gave it a complete renovation instead. Made me proud of my fellow citizens.

    On a much smaller scale, I was always fascinated by the bookmobile that came around to the rural area where my aunt and uncle lived (when I was a child, we'd go visit for a time each summer). Sorry I don't have a picture to share. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Reine

    Mmm, JD I think my comfy-comf chair has gone to the Busch-Reisinger. I haven't been to the poetry room since the renovation, and I'm not sure if they actually followed through with their planned changes. Um, dunno what to think about that.

    A major part of the school's argument for renovation rather than restoration was to install more durable furniture, flooring, and such. Really, though, I went there to study most every day for 4 years and only once or twice was anyone else in there at the same time. However . . . its museum-like aspects were a teensy bit disconcerting in a room meant to be used.

    Most of the students didn't have a concept of playing a 33 1/3 record, so the pieces of furniture that housed those turntables were more of a show case in actuality. The experience was something like the manual typewriter I saw on display in the COOP in the square, where a group of students had surrounded it – pointing and giggling. It was cute to watch them gingerly tap a key to see it make a letter appear directly on a piece of paper. How, though, does a viable school library best serve the needs of its students? How much compromise is good or desirable?

    Well, I loved the room. When I go back, I'll check it out again. It might be difficult if the feel has changed.

  15. Amy Pabalan

    Library porn, indeed. I'm drooling here.
    This is the San Francisco Main Library. It was used in the movie "City of Angels" starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan.

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://clirsf.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/4261060969_df1c923d5a.jpg&imgrefurl=http://clirsf.org/2010/05/resource-fair-for-older-adults-at-san-francisco-public-library/&usg=__-NLhz4mlbAYLdw7bTT8bUawZCxs=&h=333&w=500&sz=236&hl=en&start=10&zoom=1&tbnid=_7PcZVhBzGq2_M:&tbnh=156&tbnw=218&ei=ulTnTZDrO4bliAKtmPTYCQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsan%2Bfrancisco%2Blibrary%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7SKPT_en%26biw%3D1343%26bih%3D513%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=1025&vpy=215&dur=5163&hovh=183&hovw=275&tx=186&ty=71&page=2&ndsp=10&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:10&biw=1343&bih=513

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