Essence of library

it would be great to hear about how other people relate to libraries – the smells, the whispering, the watchful eyes of the librarians….have things changed much in your lifetime?

Simon Ryder (Investigative Artist)

Cabinet Wings of Desire smWhenever I visit one of the libraries in the Forest I bring a bit of Berlin with me, well an image from Berlin, at least: that from Wim Wenders’ film Wings of Desire where the camera glides through the great central library in West Berlin, revealing the ‘angels’ (all dressed in long overcoats and invisible to the mortals) listening in on the thoughts of the readers. As the camera glides we hear a crescendo of overlapping thoughts: for the angels libraries are noisy places. This comes to mind because however local, however modest a library might be for me it always contains a fragment of the grand idea of the Library, and an essence from the great libraries of the past. I love libraries. They are special places of exploration and repose, each with its own locus and something unbounded about it. Every community should have such an ambitious place…

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