A while ago I wrote about interesting libraries I’ve experienced only in books. It was prompted by the wonderful library described by Carlos Luiz Zafón in his book The Shadow of the Wind. There are many amazing libraries in books, whether they be school libraries, public libraries, private libraries (I enjoyed seeing people’s “shelfies” last week), or even ghostly libraries. I was reminded of this when I was reading Search for the Shadow Key last week, as it, too, had a totally out-of-this-world library in it. I thought I’d share it with you. (Garnet Province is in the Dream world.)
[Rigby had] travelled to the Central Library of Garnet Province once before, just never to the Inner Sanctum deep within. . . [It] reminded Rigby of Haddon Library at the University of Cambridge. It was all serpentine arches made of faded red and gray brick, tall banks of windows that looked like half-lidded eyes out upon the world, and a stately mansion sort of roof topped off with a wrought-iron weather vane in the shape of a rooster.
Similar in so many features, Rigby thought. Well, except for one detail. Central Library is up in a tree.
As if in the palm of some godlike hand, the entire building was nested within the massive curling limbs of the sprawling sequoia tree. The gnarled green-brown trunk of the tree was fifteen feet thick but didn’t look remotely large enough to support the huge library. Somehow, it did. The library rested up there as if it had grown right out of the tree. . .
From the outside, Central Library seemed a large structure but nowhere near large enough to house what was inside. The vaulted ceiling was more than a hundred feet high, and the cavernous interior sprawled on left and right to distant horizons obscured by towering bookshelves. It was a labyrinth of shelving some twenty to thirty feet tall, some reaching near to the ceiling. Others were less regular, more like great spirals of shelves, winding in and out of view and sweeping away to points unseen. The sheer number of books seemed beyond count. Hundreds of thousands. . . millions maybe. Maybe more. It was, in all, a massive panoramic view.
For me, I think it’s a difficult choice between this library and the one from The Shadow of the Wind. How about sharing your favourite literary library with us? We’d love to hear from you.