I am waiting for the remaining books on the Booker long list to come in to my local library which has led me to think about what makes the ‘perfect library’. Should it be dark and musty or bright and clean? Millions of books stacked higgledy-piggledy or all in neat, orderly rows? Let me know about your favourite library.
In Disney’s wonderfully saccharine animated film, Beauty and the Beast, the Beast gives Belle this huge library – the ultimate gift. With more books than she can ever read in her lifetime (or if she can, I am really inadequate). Belle was without a doubt my favourite Disney character as she had brown hair, brown eyes and was obsessed with books.
Moving away from the realms of fantasy, my favourite library has to be the University of London Library at Senate House (pictured below). Senate House was built between 1932-37 and was the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. As an English Literature student I would spend many autumnal days searching through the dusty shelves for books on anything from Woolf to early printing presses. The interior of the library is strikingly early twentieth century with parquet floors and original 1930s light fittings. It is a haven for those in love with modernist literature as the surroundings evoke the contents of the books perfectly. One of my best times at university was spent in the Special Collections room studying the original 1628 copy of The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake. A real opportunity for a 19 year old student.
The library does offer membership to non-students, so you can go and explore the literary idyll yourself.