It’s National Library Week! I love libraries, but perhaps not as much as my friend Natalie, who has visited them all over this country and abroad. So, to celebrate libraries, this Friday 5 is a (first-ever) guest post, featuring Natalie’s 5 favorite libraries. Enjoy!
I was super thrilled when Kara asked me to write a guest post about my five favorite libraries. You’d think I’d be sick of the topic since I’m in graduate school for library science, but I’m always up for daydreaming about these spaces.
1. Enoch Pratt Free Library—Baltimore, MD
Enoch Pratt was founded in 1882 on the principal that the library should be a free university for the people of Baltimore. At that time, the fact that it was for all—rich and poor—was revolutionary. Today the library continues to bring famous speakers, computer access, books and information to all who enter. The space itself is a representation of the changes libraries have undergone—computers and modern technology are juxtaposed with the grandiose architecture of the building.
2. Lionel Robbins Library, London School of Economics—London, England
I spent a year of college at the London School of Economics. Although its library books are organized in a common way for British universities, it was pretty novel for this American exchange student. In classes at LSE, syllabi have long optional reading lists instead of prescribed reading for each week. All of these books are separated to stacks at the back of the library for easy access. The rest of the library is filled with non-“marked” books. Not only does this make it easier to find relevant material, it also guarantees that you don’t have to buy all of the books for class, which, as you can imagine, is really nice. The space itself is pretty incredible as well, especially the staircase.
3. New York Public Library Main Branch—New York, New York
The first time I visited New York as an adult, this was my first stop. There’s something really cool about such a venerable institute of learning finding its place next to many of the famous shops of Fifth Avenue. Although I’m not sure I find the reading rooms all that welcoming, the fact that the desks are filled with learners from all walks of life is inspiring.
4. William F. Laman Public Library—North Little Rock, AR
This is the first library I really remember, as it’s in my hometown in Arkansas. Though the other buildings on this list are certainly grander, and have more materials than Laman does, I have many fond memories of participating in reading programs (somewhere there’s a book with my name in it that I got for reading a certain number of books one summer) and of studying on the second floor between the stacks by the window (especially nice when it would rain). I also checked out my first Jane Austen from this library!
5. Trinity College Dublin Library—Dublin, Ireland
I only need to point a person to look at a picture of this library to show why I love it. Beautiful ceilings, enormous stacks of books, and an air of knowledge…Love, love, love.
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