Apparently, February 14th not only marks Valentine’s Day, but also Library Lovers’ Day! A day to celebrate any and all things library. I can’t believe I’ve lived this long on this planet and only just stumbled across this piece of information. You don’t understand, ok? I used to sneak off to the library because our teachers didn’t organise enough library visits.
They’re so easy to get lost in, but they’re also the places where you can find a million versions of yourself. You can be alone, and feel like you’re in a roomful of your closest friends. You can be surrounded by people, and disappear into a world of your choosing. Libraries are great!
And in this day and age, they’re also a refuge to many. They provide vital information for refugees and migrants, for people looking to enter the work industry, for homeless folks seeking shelter and a distraction, for parents looking to occupy their children… the list goes on. The value of a library is immeasurable.
So, to commemorate this day, I thought I’d pick some of my favourite fictional libraries:
The Hogwarts library in The Harry Potter Series
This one definitely takes top spot. My brain would probably explode at the thought of setting foot in this magical library. Imagine all the different kinds of books those enchanted walls are housing. It’s not only just books about magic, but the books themselves that are magical. It would make the reading experience all the more exciting. J.K. Rowling gives us hints with the “Monster Book of Monsters” and that shrieking head that explodes from between the pages in Philosopher’s Stone. It only suggests that there must be tons more enigmatical tomes in there for perusal.
The Chrestomanci Castle library in the Chrestomanci Series
I haven’t actually read enough of the Chrestomanci books to become acquainted with this library. However, from what I know of Chrestomanci, and of Diana Wynne Jones, I know that I’d give an arm and a leg to be able to access this library. Chrestomanci castle is the residing place of the Chrestomanci, aka the supervisor of all magic use. It’s basically the hubbub of all magical happenings, from discussions of magical theory to adventurous romps. The library probably houses all the everything from educational tomes, to magically entertaining reads.
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities’ library from The Mummy
This film is a personal favourite, despite all its cheesy lines, and slapstick comedy. Or perhaps, because of it? In any case, the library/museum/archives that Evie works in at the start is a beautiful structure housing thousands of texts. It is a little chilling to watch Evie knock over the majority of the shelves, though,and I pity whoever had to clean up after her.
The Pemberley library from Pride and Prejudice
Darcy may be a snob, but he certainly has good taste, as evidenced by the subdued elegance of his estate, and, of course, by his choice of wife. As is mentioned in the novel, the Pemberley library has been many generations in the making, and Darcy himself says that “It ought to be good.” Despite Lizzie’s prickly assertion that they couldn’t possibly share reading tastes, I’m sure she’ll find something of interest following her marriage to its owner.
The Beast’s library from Beauty and the Beast
Who hasn’t seen this scene and not fantasised about being given full reign to explore it? It’s sheer expansiveness is enough to make your fingers itch to explore the shelves. You could get lost in it for days.
Jay Gatsby’s library in The Great Gatsby
This is the perfect library for a hermit, because no one ever goes in there. Guaranteed, libraries are meant to be shared by all, and I’m all for that. But some days you enter extreme hermit mode and this is exactly what you need. Especially when you happen to find yourself at a monstrosity of a party where everyone is beyond drunk, beyond ridiculous, and you need to find a quiet refuge.
What are some of your favourite libraries?