Can there ever be enough books in the world, or even in just one place, to truly satisfy a soul? I woke up this morning to pictures on my Facebook feed from a friend who is currently in Europe, she’d been to visit the Abbey Library of Saint Gallen in Switzerland. She had to use stock pictures and not her own photos as you’re not allowed to photograph the library… they even give you little felt shoes to wear so you don’t damage anything. It has over 170,000 items in there. Can you imagine what it looks like? Can you imagine what it smells like? That ink smell… divine!
After drooling over her descriptions and the photos put up I remembered that I had some books to return to my local library. There are significantly less than 170,000 books there… and the architecture is rather lacking, too. Still, I’ve always loved libraries. You go in, you wander the stacks and choose your books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, whatever and then they just let you take them. Sure, they do get you to sign up and give some info but it’s still a system that’s really built on trust and honour.
There was a time when I thought being a librarian would be my ultimate job. I was about seven and sadly deluded, I thought that they checked books in and out and then in between that they just got to sit there and read. Wouldn’t that be great, being paid to read? Of course, I’m far more aware now of all the jobs that librarians really do, but I always wonder if I will come around the shelving to find a librarian sitting on the floor, book in their lap and looking up at me with a guilty smile as they say “I just couldn’t wait.” I’d probably sit down next to them and crack open a book as well.
I love being surrounded by books – the sight of them makes me smile. Even better is sharing a book with a friend or a bunch of friends. I used to be part of the best book group… we got together once a month and talked about the book while we ate yummy food and drank wine. Okay, sometimes the talking about the book was reduced to “Did anyone actually read it this month? Any good or should I not bother?” but that was fine, and it’s probably the reason I haven’t joined another book club since I left that one!
Books – a collection of words that takes you from where you are physically to some other dimension; educating, enlightening and entertaining.