Photos of "the world's most exquisite libraries"



i love libraries and those are just amazing



(The woodwork in my library is coming along, very very very slowly…)

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All this talk of Toronto lately, let’s hear it for the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto.

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In a digitized world there should be no rare books.

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In a digitized world there should be no rare DATA. Specific instantiations of the data can, and will, sometimes be rare. And that’s not just a reasonable thing, but a good thing.


Deliberate misunderstanding charms no one.

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Can anybody say what the content of one of these books is likely to be, chosen at random?

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I give you the Copenhagen University Library.


It’s only wee, but here’s the nicest library in the Toon:

Along with a massive yacht, a fancy-ass library is right up there with my lottery-win purchases. Not that I play the lottery.

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I just want to know how the hell that photographer got into my house…

For some libraries you can make a better guess than others, based on knowing where the collection is based and whose it is. If you can get hold of the library’s catalog (which may be on line, these days) you could compute that…

Speaking of libraries: Just in case anyone isn’t aware of it, the MIT Science Fiction Society’s library catalog is on line, and can be a great resource for checking who wrote a given book, or what books a given author has published, or what the actual name was of that book with “armageddon” in the title… (It’s not a complete list of every SF/fantasy book ever published, but it’s reportedly the largest single collection of SF on the planet…)

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Just so you know, I’m available for commission if anyone wants the ceiling of their library painted.

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Sorry - I posed the question insufficiently well. I meant something independent of any particular library. Similar to the nationality of a human being chosen at random from the planet, where the answer is ‘probably Chinese’.

It’s not quite ‘What is the commonest subject material found in a book’, but more ‘What is the most likely subject matter of a library book’. Both questions may have the same answer, but I suspect not.

EDIT: (Except, actually, the question is ‘does anybody know if the above question is answerable’).

Murder or romance.

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Ah, but do you actually know that? I suppose it might be ‘romance’ in its broadest sense.

I believe my original question germane simply because of the ‘exquisite’ in the title. The libraries may be exquisite, but the content need not be. If your average library book is an Imperial Laundry List then I suspect we might be less gooey about the libraries.

You might be right though - murders / death-warrants?

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I was mainly being glib for effect, but you might be onto something there. Especially if you include marriage registers. The Lit & Phil, in the link I posted earlier of Newcastle’s very own ersatz British Library, has parliamentary records going back at least four hundred years, plus a massive history section, so there’s plenty real death, intrigue and assignations. plus lots of crime & romance. For your average public library, I’m betting I’m right, mind.

That’s fine. Glib’s OK.

You’re exactly right about the Lit & Phil. There’s a whole downstairs section devoted to monarchical paperwork. Just the other day I was looking through the records of Richard III’s daily activities. Lots of familiar names cropping up there, yielding several almost-frissons of bony flesh-putting-upon. But all quite dull really. Nothing like as murderous or romantic as one would have hoped.