007: On Libraries

I love libraries. Up until I was in high school, I often lose my ID and the only motivation I have for getting a new one is because it’s harder to sneak in the library than enter the school without an ID.

I’d look for a book by browsing through the drawers of index cards, arranged based on the Dewey Decimal System. Then I’d look for the books, getting distracted by other books along the way.

When I was in college, I’d go inside the library and breathe in the scent of old books. One of the thrills I had when I took courses for my master’s degree, was that I can reserve the small rooms in the library reserved for postgrad students.

I loved libraries more than I loved going to classes. Learning new things on my own instead of a teacher telling me what I should know make libraries thrilling. There’s serendipity in discovering new books or topics because they were beside something I was looking for.

I check out the nearest library wherever I’m in. I used to hang out in an old airport that was converted into a library when I was 15 (which is now converted into a high-end restaurant, where we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary). I’ve been to different libraries in different countries. I try to visit one library whenever I travel just to check them out. I don’t usually have enough time to explore them so I just admire their architecture and just absorb as much energy as I can. A confession: I haven’t been to our National Library though. 😔

Here are the libraries I’ve been to so far during my travels:

  1. Singapore National Library — I brought my daughter to the Children’s Section and I also attended a conference there.
  2. Los Angeles Public Library — I had one free day to explore downtown LA and this is where I went 😅
  3. Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.— THE LIBRARY. I didn’t have much photos when we went in because I was shaking and on the verge of tears.
  4. The Klementinum Public Library, Prague — I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t enter the library and it was only part of a tour.

These are the straight out library for books though, I’ve been to other types of libraries but that’s for another post. For future reference:

I still have a lot of libraries to visit in my lifetime (note to self: explore the ones in your own country first!) but while I can’t afford to travel all the time, I also have a weakness for fiction with libraries as their main setting. Here are my favorites on top of my mind:

  1. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
  2. Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde
  3. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

I know there are plenty more books that are about libraries, here are some sources of inspiration:

Maybe one day, I’ll have my own library. Or maybe get imprisoned by a hideous beast, develop Stockholm Syndrome, and be gifted with one. 😆

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