The world seemed to have gone off its spinner this year, making the library one of the few places you could retreat where the pace of life was slower and blessed silence reigned. It is also the place where serendipity thrives.
“The library helps you to see, not only that you are not alone, but that you’re not really any different from everyone else,” the late Maya Angelou once told an interviewer from the New York Public Library. Those are wiser words than pretty much anything that was said in all of 2016. Let’s try again next year, shall we?
—Elizabeth Renzetti, “As 2016 crashed in flames, libraries were the last good place“
Happy New Year, everyone!
The reference library, where my thoughts were to rage.
I ate book after book, page after page.
I scoffed poetry for breakfast and novels for tea.
And plays for my supper. No more poverty.
Welcome young poet, in here you are free
to follow your star to where you should be.
That door of the library was the door into me
And Lorca and Shelley said “Come to the feast.”
Whitechapel Library, Aldgate East.
—Bernard Kops, from Whitechapel Library, Aldgate East
via Writing London
The British Library is trying to raise £9M to acquire what is thought to be Europe’s oldest intact book, the Anglo-Saxon St. Cuthbert Gospel. The late 7th century book still has its original red leather cover, and contains the Gospel of John. The binding is beautifully decorated and the calligraphy is as clear and beautiful as it was when it was written 1300 years ago. You can get a look at it in the video below, and contribute to the acquisition fund at the British Library website.
Here’s another one to add to the eclectic assortment of bookmobiles on this planet. This is the Otets Paisiy Public Library located in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. It is named after an 18th century monk who wrote the first history of Bulgaria. See more photos and read more about it at inhabitat.