As a child in the 1960s I loved to vist my local libarary in Arnold. It was a much older building than the one in the picture above and I remember it had the inscription Carnegie Library carved above the door. The town had obviously been a beneficary of the charity set up by enlightened philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. In those days we were issued with library ‘tickets', and when you took the books of your choice to the desk, the librarian would take the card from the inside the book and insert it into one of your five tickets and into an indexed box. The book would duly be stamped, to be returned in two weeks’ time. I seem to recall that I would be back long before the two weeks was up, eager to make my next choice.
|Nautilus Library, (public domain)|
|Carl Spitzweg (public domain) |
Libraries like this one, on the right, often appear in old paintings, and I particularly like this example as it demonstrates the lengths, quite literally, to which a booklover will go to find the volume he is seeking.
He seems to suffer from the same affliction I have myself whenever I delve into my own home library. I start looking for a particular item and find myself sidetracked by some other tantalising morsel of information. 'The Bookworm' here depicted is engrossed in one book, whilst clasping another, with two further volumes, one wedged under his arm and another clasped between his knees. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I admire the fact that he thought to take a cloth with which to attack the dusty tomes. He clearly doesn’t have vertigo as the ladder is taller than it appears. Turning round and descending unscathed may prove to be tricky!
Please don’t try this in your local library!
For more ways to enjoy the library visit my bookloving friends over at Sepia Saturday before you go to sleep.