Forget your 72 virgins…

by Brad Nelson   3/25/15

…just send me to a library like this one in Trinity College, Dublin:


I ran across this picture by random. I don’t offhand remember what Google rabbit-hunt I was on. But I found this page: The Most Spectacular Libraries Around the World.

Apologies for the atrocious Seattle Public Library, at least the modern architecture. On the plus side, it looks like something out of Logan’s Run. Go to the next frame and you’ll see it’s even uglier and more oppressive on the inside. Only Progressives could view this Orwellian sterile environment as inviting.

But by the fourth frame, you’ll have come to this photo (above) of the Trinity College Old Library in Dublin. It makes me think of the library in the movie, The Name of the Rose.

Perhaps some people revere golf courses as I do libraries. And that’s fine. Golf courses (although a vexing game itself) are often works of art. They are gardens in which you chase a little white ball around. And the only thing that would make the ideal Divine library complete would be a three or four acre garden adjoining it. Virgins would still be optional.

Libraries are, of course, eminently useful. But they are also symbols of man’s self-conscious attempt to fit into his special place in the universe. Libraries are the opposite of discos or prime time television.

There was a time when man was viewed as something special. Now the monuments we build to him are suitably the materialist-oriented shopping malls where, although there is much art in the products on display, the main theme is consumption, not creating and preserving magnificent things.

So let’s hear it for the humble library…which is not always so humble as we pictured here.

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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18 Responses to Forget your 72 virgins…

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Oh, I know what you mean. Someone who probably has even more books than we do — and sufficient space to store them. (I suspect that reaching books in the upper shelves would be rather difficult, however.)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      You should submit a photo of your library to that site. I mean, can it be any worse than the Seattle Public Library. 😉

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Do you mean a photo of one of the branches of the Louisville Free Public Library, or one of the rooms in which we store books (we use every room and hall, and nearly every staircase and closet, for the purpose)? Note that we bought a fairly large house (with 4 bedrooms, admittedly not large) precisely for book storage.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Well, speaking only for myself, I think it would be hilarious to have a photo of your ad hoc home library. And one of the Louisville Free Public library would be a nice addition as well. Send them in and I’ll integrate them into the article somehow — along with whatever you want to say about it. This is a collaborative effort, after all. Maybe someone else will also have something good and interesting and meaningful to say about books. A photo. A thought. A whatever.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I get the tingles when I see such a library. (with apologies to Chris Matthews.)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Libraries represent the noble works of man…and more than a few books, of course, are ignoble. But it’s a smorgasbord of ideas, opinions, facts, and stories, as jumbled together as are the books on the shelves.

      I understand Timothy’s method of collecting books. As nice as shopping online can be, when you’re in a library (or come across a box of books at a garage sale), you’ll often find things that you would have never thought of. Sometimes it seems as if those books were put there by little magic book elves just for you to find.

      While ISIS and other anti-human causes plunder and despoil our earth, there still do exists these wonderful monuments to man’s art and knowledge.

      Notice how in some of the photos of modern libraries, it is typically a sterile environment. You’ll see lots of steel beams and blank countertops, but scarcely any books. In this one photo of the library in Dublin, the books themselves are a main part of the architecture, the columns proverbially holding up the building.

      There was obvious reverence for knowledge and history when this Dublin library was built. When the Seattle library was built, surely the vapid libtards had building a “social space” foremost on their minds.

      Lord deliver the world from the libtards.

  3. GHG says:

    Such grandeur! It makes me think of a place when the world spun slower, a place I would like to visit. The warmth of the wood is so peaceful and inviting. I’ll take beauty and form over function and practical every day.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Okay. You pass. 😉 That photograph should be like a secret test to see if someone is really a conservative. If they go with the Seattle Library photo…buzzzzz. You’re out. Gong them off the show. We know you’re a Progressive.

      That photos is the equivalent of a cathedral for books (being connected with Trinity College, that makes ultimate sense). This is a place for reverent and serious thoughts, not (as in the Seattle Public Library) insistent, constant, and insane text messaging. This is where you go to open yourself to knowledge, facts, and possibilities that are larger than yourself.

      Not many places like that left.

  4. Timothy Lane says:

    Well, I just showed the Trinity photo to Elizabeth, and she rather enjoyed it, saying how much she would enjoy having a library card there.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Well, tell Elizabeth she’s alright by me. And if she likes the modern stuff (though goodness forbid), I was just giving the business to the Progressives.

      You can sort of applaud the creative desire to do something different. But it takes a truly great designer to humble himself to the masters. Artists used to do that. Now it’s a gigantic postmodern pissing contest…and that’s often the results they achieve.

      But my personal library (wish wish) can be seen in the slide for the Bodleian Library, Oxford, England. Wow.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Elizabeth only saw the one photo from Trinity. I hadn’t been able to get the slideshow to work, although I did (going both ways) from the Bodleian link.

        I see what you mean about Seattle, though I think Copenhagen and Aberdeen were about as bad, and Stuttgart almost. I believe the best description of such places is sterile.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Oh, goodness. A couple of those photos (I forget which…but I think Copenhagen, as you said) was so antiseptic, it made Seattle’s Public Library warm by comparison.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    The ironic thing is that I rarely go to the library these days. Electronic books have spoiled me, perhaps soiled me. I have a warm spot on my heart for those who say “Never!” regarding e-books. But they’re just so darn convenient.

    A library is one of the public spaces as a conservative that I would say is a legitimate form of socialism. Yes, yes, Mr. Tarzwell will bend my ear and tell me how he thinks the private sector is more than able to take over that function as he good-naturedly shows me supposedly who the *real* conservative is. (Personally, I think he may have been standing too near too many Paulbots in his travels and it’s rubbed off on him.)

    But I think centers of knowledge, rather than centers of dependency (Obamacare, etc.), are an appropriate and good role for community governments (but, please, no Federal Library Bureau).

    I’m sure somewhere there is a powerful library union that corrupts the whole process, but mostly a library is neutral regarding the typically perverse and corrupt motivations of politicians. Considering how difficult it is for most libraries to get adequate funding (define “adequate,” I suppose), it doesn’t seem to be a real tool for demagogues and others who love buying votes with the public money. Apparently the educated sector is not as for-sale as other sectors.

    I’m okay with the principle of the library. If only more of our tax dollars were so well spent on a tangible and good product.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      According to Lisa Major (who works at a Louisville library branch), there is indeed a union for library workers, though I don’t know the details. But I do sympathize more with library spending. However, I have twice voted against proposals for a separate library taxing district — partly because of the question of what was to be done with the public money from general revenues that was no longer needed for the library.

  6. Rosalys says:

    Libraries are one public expenditure I don’t mind at all my tax dollars going toward. As a kid, growing up in Barrington, RI, the Town Hall and the library were housed together in the 1898 Gothic Victorian building built for that purpose. It had a balcony with a wrought iron railing and many, many bookshelves that you could hide from the world in! About twenty-five years ago they moved the library across the parking lot into the old L.R. Peck Jr. High School (which was the old L.R. Peck High School until they built the “new” and hideous Barrington High sometime in the fifties.) A new junior high was built and the Town Hall expanded into the old library space to become the Barrington Government Center (not all that’s new is progress!) The new library is bigger and brighter and in many ways more comfortable, but I loved the old one.

    The George Peabody Library in Baltimore is nice, too! Many, many balconies are a must for a perfect library.

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