Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

Photo credit: Robert Dawson Exterior, Willard Library, Evansville, Indiana, 2011.
Photo credit: Robert Dawson
Willard Library, Evansville, Indiana, 2011

Libraries

Last week we discussed your dream home library, but that can be a difficult thing to attain. You need money and space, and most of us don’t have either of those things on hand. But public libraries are always there for you. Libraries are amazing resources in your community and I think you should utilize them at every chance you get, especially in the summer! To me, the summers were always a time to get involved with libraries’ summer reading programs and stock up on books for weeks of exciting reading. Libraries can be meeting places, sources of adventure, ways to educate yourself, and so much more.

In honor of libraries, I want to link to this Flavorwire article that profiles many interesting libraries across America. There are some really amazing libraries on this list. There is the adorable Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana; there is the Queens Library bookmobile in New York that was in operation following Hurricane Sandy; and there is even a combination Super Bingo, Family Dollar, and Mockingbird Branch Library in Abilene, Texas. If anything, this list shows us how America is keeping the library alive in more and more creative ways.

But what about your library? What was your library like when you were growing up? What is the library that you now hold allegiance to? What role does the library play in your life?

I’ve always had small libraries in my life. Growing up, the public library was not too far from my house and sometimes we would bike there when the weather was nice. It didn’t matter that it was small because I was small, too, and I honestly had so much fun reading through the stacks at that library. After grade school, we moved and I had another small, cozy library to check out. Although it didn’t always have the books I wanted, the library was part of an expansive network and I could have plenty of books transferred in for me to read.

Let us know in the comments what libraries mean to you, and which library you love.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://cnn.it/189aq7y
http://cnn.it/189aq7y

Exquisite Libraries

Once again, I am assuming that we’re all book lovers here. Am I correct in that assumption? Excellent, then we shall press on. Are you feeling tired already and it’s only Tuesday? Are you freezing in the middle of this Polar Vortex? We here at the Jet Fuel blog understand you, and we’d like to offer you something cozy and simple on this Tuesday morning. After all, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from serious-ish, advice type posts and just look at some pretty pictures of libraries. In that vein, I bring you exquisite libraries around the world, courtesy of the CNN website.

There are large, opulent libraries with lots of gold embellishment on the shelves on this list. There is also the ancient library in the Haeinsa Temple in South Korea. It’s interesting to see the contrast between the truly grandiose libraries, and the libraries that are far more subdued. It might be said that the two kinds of libraries are completely equal, despite their difference in decoration. When it comes down to it, libraries exist to catalog and dispense knowledge. It doesn’t matter what they look like, as long as they house the annals of knowledge. All that being said, it is quite nice to look at these exquisite libraries, don’t you think?

My favorite library on the list has to be the Merton College Library in Oxford, UK (pictured above). It seems to be the perfect mixture of grandiosity and coziness. There are some lovely decorative windows, but it seems to be mostly made of wood. It’s the library that I could most see myself studying in.

Which library do you like best? Which one would you transplant into your home, if that was possible? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://bookriot.com/2013/09/30/ libraries-rich-famous/

Amazingly Extravagant Libraries

I think we can all agree that libraries are awesome. But they’re also outside your home and require you to put on pants before visiting. Unless, that is, you happen to have a personal library. Of course, this privilege is only reserved for the mega-wealthy, or at least those with an extra room and some DIY skills. But we can dream! And one of my most dearly held dreams for my future home is for it to have a library in it. It doesn’t have to be huge, I just want a nice, cozy space where I can keep my book collection. And if my library happens to look like any of the libraries I’m going to talk about today, I will be one lucky gal.

Recently, the Book Riot blog did a great post about Libraries of the Rich and Famous. These are all folks — mostly authors and actors — who clearly value books and have chosen to give them a place of prominence in their homes. Some of these are just breathtaking, while others aren’t really up my alley. You should go check out the post to see them all, but I wanted to talk about a few of them in particular.

My personal favorite on this list is Neil Gaiman’s library. I think I’ve posted about it before on the blog and it’s just unbelievable. He has amassed an amazing collection of books and he displays them in a way that makes it look as though he has his very own secondhand bookshop in his home. The award for the Most Stately Personal Library definitely goes to Sting and his Victorian, studious design.

Which personal library do I want my own library to look like some day? Either Keith Richards (cozy, comfortable, crammed with books) or Julia Child (homey, inviting). But, in actuality, whose library will my own end up looking like? Probably Professor Richard A. Macksey. It’s a bit messy, but it looks like there’s a method to all of the madness. And I love the abundance of chairs, so that you can sit down wherever you are in the room to peruse some books.

Which personal library is your favorite? Why do you like it? Which library do you want your own to look like someday? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://oedb.org/

Unique Libraries

This week for our Awesome Literary Thing, we start at the place where I’m guessing most of you started noticing awesome literary things: the library! Though I had lots of books to read at home as a youngster, the library is where I expanded my base of reading material and started reading outside my comfort zone. Aside from offering new and interesting books, libraries can also offer reading programs for kids, activities for teens, and book clubs for adults. But have you ever seen a library in the shape of an army tank? I’m guessing no.

The army tank library and so many others are featured in this post on the Open Education Database website. There are some really wild ideas here, like a temporary library art installation in an ancient abandoned Turkish Bath, a treehouse library, and a dollhouse library. Not all of these are actually usable of course — like the dollhouse library — but they still look really awesome.

I was thinking about libraries this past weekend because my tiny, local library just had some renovations done. I haven’t had a chance to go inside and explore the new floor plan, but from the outside it looks like a lot of space was added. More room for more books! But my little local library leaves much to be desired. If I had my way, I think I’d like to have that treehouse library…

What would be in your ideal library? If you could have a truly outrageous library, what would it look like? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

National Library Week!

http://glenbrook225.org

Exciting news, blog readers! This week is National Library Week, which means we should all get out of the house and appreciate our local libraries. As a part of this special week, libraries all across the nation will be holding special events to celebrate the public institution that is dedicated to the joy of reading. In these tough economic times, libraries need any help they can get. So be sure to head out and support your local library.

With the advent of more and more bargain bookstores, I know that I have been neglecting my library these days. But I have fond memories of walking to my library when I was younger and taking out stacks and stacks of books each week. The summer was the best, of course, because of the summer reading programs that charted your reading progress and offered prizes when you hit milestones throughout the summer. For me, the summer was always the best time for reading because school was out and there was nothing but time to sit and read and while away the hours in a fictional world. In fact, I’d probably say that the library was my favorite summer hangout as a kid.

Even if you’re not going to borrow a book, the library can be a fantastic place to hang out. It’s quiet, it’s comfortable, and it’s filled with people who love the same thing you love: books! Sometimes it’s nice just to sit and read in an environment that’s all about reading. It’s like being surrounded by the bookshelves in your room, but on a much bigger scale!

What are your library memories? Are you planning on checking out your local library for National Library Week? Share your library thoughts in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan