I recently read a review of Alberto Manguel’s The Library at Night in the LA Times. It sounds like an interesting read-I’ve heard of his With Borges, but haven’t yet read it. While The Library at Night sounds like a mix of memoir, general history and musings, the review got me thinking about the library as dramatic setting. One of my favorites is the rather creepy and ambiguous tale, The Ghost Writer by John Harwood. The scenes in the British Library stuck with me, and I wish I could visit it! (In the book, the Library is still part of the British Museum). When I finally visited the British Museum in 2005, I was disappointed. While their reading room is nice, it’s much smaller, and very different from the spooky Victorian locale detailed in The Ghost Writer. I’ll have to make a special visit to the British Library, the next time I’m in London. Have any of you visited there? And what are your favorite stories set in libraries? What do you like about them?
I recently came across this slide show on Slate, titled “How do you build a public library in the age of Google?” It’s an interesting tour of current library architecture, and the different ways cities are trying to adapt libraries into popular public spaces. What do you think? Do you have a favorite public library? How does the building design play into your appreciation? I know I prefer smaller libraries, and sometimes I find some modern architecture a little too sterile for my taste. In any event, I still plan on checking out books for a long time to come!