I've always been fascinated by libraries, by their smells, their endless rows of stacked volumes, the eclectic and often eccentric crowds that frequent them - I love it all. I love that they come in all shapes and sizes too. From the grand halls built as beacons for the enlightened, to collegiate shrines where one learns to read between the lines, onto the musty suburban throwbacks to a time before the internet. Corridors comprised of clues to our collective past line our nation's official shrine to information, the Library of Congress. As the traditional library will most likely become a thing of the past, (that darned interweb is taking over) it's nice to know that such an institution of our country's identity will be preserved for new generations to discover. It's a really pretty place y'all, flip through the pics below and see your tax dollars at work.
Maybe it's because you have to be quiet when you're inside, but libraries have a sort of a hushed reverance that can only be compared to churches and museums. They demand respect for their aspirations in design while remaining practical since they are functional spaces. Back when books were rare & cherished instead of disposable or even (gasp!) digital, literary lovers around the world built beautiful shrines to house their treasures. The slideshow below features some magical, majestic and even maudlin examples of libraries far and wide. I particularly love the example of Communist Russia's take on fanciness in Minsk - and modern mix of art & literature in Ronda, Spain. Take a little tour why dontcha... I'll wait here until you get back.
Architecture & posterity aside, for me, the real mystery of the library lifestyle lies in the heartbeat of the operation - the librarians. What kind of person chooses to spend their lives amongst the tomes of our times? Serious, inhibited wallflowers with a steampot of sultry sensuality just waiting to boil over with every tedious task of filing dewey decimal style, of course!
As stereotypes ago, I'm sure this one is totally annoying to most hard-working, intelligent, well-adjusted, single-personalitied librarians. The reality is that the library sciences attract smart, scholarly, fastidious types with a love for organization, systems, books, history and helping the public. That being said, if you have any kind of romantic relationship with the written word (I'm talking to you Henry Miller) you can't help but wonder what kind of woman (or man of course) has the calling to spend their time in the stacks. One can't deny the romantic pallor of all literary professions ... hence the fantasies of the libidinous librarian linger. Hopefully the fantasies don't only thrive in our imagination... smart is sexy after all.