What is it about stacks and shelves of books that is so compelling?
Open the cover…
And who knows what you might find?
The possibility of story…
In this case, I went in search of a library containing books I wouldn’t want to read. This particular library was full of law books. I write fiction. But still. The library itself and its design drew me. I’d seen pictures of shelves full of colorful spines, decorative metal stairs spiraling to the books, huge, tall windows — in this fascinating building.
So with my laptop in my hand and the welcome of a public library in my heart, I set off.
“Library” in German is “Bibliothek.” Remember that. You’ll need to know it later.
It was hard to find the right entrance. I walked all around the building. When I finally went in I was faced with this. No map or listing of offices in sight.
So I went back out and found a glassed in booth next to a doorway under an archway, that looked like it might be information. In English I asked about the library and … nothing. The man didn’t speak English. This is where the one word I’d read in a brochure came in. When I said, “Bibliothek bitte?” The man nodded and wrote a room number down on a post-it note and gave it to me. That was all the direction I got. I said danke.
This library is kind of famous. But it turns out, not that easy to find.
After some weaving around in the warren of hallways, going up and down some unnecessary but interesting stairs and a couple of false moves in a tiny elevator I finally found the right floor and opened a small wooden door that appeared to be the right room number. Still not much signage outside.
And I entered a small office. Two desks, some ordinary bookshelves. That was it.
The woman in there spoke SOME English, and was also very nice. She explained to me that I had to leave my purse and bag in a locker and then said something about how to use the law books; and I had to pretend I was interested in those. What can I say? I didn’t mean to mislead but I was determined to get in there. Turns out the library was through a door in her office.
I saw this view while stashing my bags; and after getting change from her for a 2 Euro coin because the lockers only took 1 Euro coins.
Finally I went in! It was quiet … and small … and I felt like a poseur and an imposter … but still I was determined. And also I craved some quiet in the middle of our travel, and some time to work on a few things.
When I opened my laptop this large photo was on the screen. Kind of embarrassing. Our dog sitter back home had sent updates and those were the last thing I’d been looking at. (Go Rover.com!)
So after I got comfortable and minimized the doggie photo, I enjoyed it. I spent some time working and that felt good. Then sunlight came streaming in the windows and I snuck a picture. Gorgeous, no?
I heard these bells going off while sitting there.
This was the view out the window.
The mystique of a library is in the possibility. The imagining. What stories might exist within the pages? What knowledge? What action of the mind and heart might happen, upon reading the words?