Library Series | 3 of the Most Beautiful Libraries Around the World

2020. What a year. Despite everything that’s changed in the last 9 months, at least one thing has remained the same: I am a sucker for aesthetically pleasing libraries and I will continue this series posting about different libraries around the globe. I’m not sure when it will be safe to travel to all of the beautiful places I’ve found these libraries in again, but at least daydreaming isn’t cancelled!

Admont Abbey Library – Admont, Austria

The first library that I’ve had my eye on is the Adamont Abbey Library in Austria. When I look at this photograph, I almost can’t believe that it’s real. This library was built on Adamont Abbey monastery, designed by architect Joseph Hueber in 1776 and has over 200,000 volumes today. In April 1865, there was a fire that caused considerable damage to the monastery, but the library remained unharmed.

Stift Admont Library //📍#Admont #Austria // ?
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Vennesla Library and Culture House – Vennesla, Norway

This library is very aesthetically pleasing to me, but in an entirely different way than Adamont Abbey’s is. I love how symmetrical the shelves here are; everything looks really clean and orderly, and as someone who appreciates order, this is very satisfying. It serves not only as a library, but as a cultural center where people are encouraged to gather. This library has a more modern feel, which is no surprise as it was built in 2011, and has won several architectural awards.

ARCHITECTURE TODAY: Norway Vennesla Library and Culture House

Klementinum National Library – Prague, Czech Republic

This library was built in 1772 for the Jesuit University; they have 20,000 volumes and some books are still there from that time. The ceiling frescoes depict Jesuit saints and allegorical motifs of education. According to Tripadvisor reviews, if you do visit this one, in order to preserve it, guests are not permitted to enter the library or take pictures of it, but there is a bell tower with a 360 degree aerial view of Prague that you are permitted to climb.

Is This the Most Beautiful Library in Europe?

If anyone knows of any other beautiful libraries around the world, or counties they would be interested in seeing featured in this series, please let me know!

-Catherine 🙂

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Who’s Dewey? | How Books Are Arranged in the Library

Does anyone remember the episode of Arthur when he and Francine were locked in the library? I probably watched that episode hundreds of times as a kid, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the ones that sticks out the most in my head now. I mean, I don’t see why anyone would try to escape being locked in the library over night. They’re quiet, quaint, have comfortable couches, and I don’t know what the deal was in the libraries of 1996 when this episode first aired (maybe exploring libraries of the 90s will be a post for another day), but they definitely have Internet now – so, what’s the issue, Arthur?

Locked in the Library! | TVOKids Arthur Wiki | Fandom
This is the Stairway to Heaven Led Zepplin sings about, right?!

Another thing I remember about Arthur was that beloved ‘Library Card’ song. You know, the one that goes, “Having fun isn’t hard, When you’ve got a library card.” It’s so deeply engrained into my memory that I can’t even look at that sentence without singing it in my head. Well, anyway, a more unpopular line in that song is, “And don’t forget, The Dewey Decimal System is your friend.” If you’re like D.W., this is the point in the song, or post, where you ask yourself who Dewey is.

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Melville Louis Kossuth “Melvil” Dewey was an American librarian born in 1851 whose published work in 1876, A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library, became what we know today as the Dewey Decimal System – aka the classification system by which libraries classify their books.

Each book at the library has numbers on its spine and is arranged by subject in numerical order:

The above represents the first set of numbers on the spine – the general subject area of the book. It is then broken down further by adding a decimal, followed by more sections of numbers that are representative of the book’s sub-section. Each sub-section then has ten more divisions of increasing specificity. Subsequently, more letters are added at the end to represent the author or editor of the book.

For example:

Term - Call Numbers
Fun Fact: the 4 in 43 represents that the book is about a planet; the 3 in 43 represents that the book is about the planet Mars.

Maybe this is why no one answered D.W. when she asked who Dewey was over and over at the end of the song – because there are so many sections upon sections of number and letter combinations, that if they explained every single one to her, they would be at the library all night, and considering the librarian didn’t even bother to check if Francine and Arthur were still around before closing up, I doubt she’d have been too pleased to do so.

One thing is for sure though, almost 25 years ago when the episode emphasized that having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card, they were right – they were right then, they’d be right now, and thanks to our friend, Dewey, it’s a little easier to organize it.

nice Arthur Library Card Coloring Page | Coloring pages, Library card,  Coloring sheets for kids

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Review// The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

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Author: Chloe Benjamin
Series: Standalone
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Book Length: 346 pages 
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Review:3.5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.

My Review:

What I loved most about this was the premise: the whole, ‘four siblings living in NYC in 1969 go and visit a psychic that tells them each the day of their death’ thing sounded pretty cool from the onset, and I just knew I had to read it. All of them are told their death day in private, therefore, each sibling does not know the dates given to the others. The rest of the book, told in four separate parts – one for each of them – centres around their lives and events leading up to and including their death days.

I thought that this book was going to have a little more magical realism than it did, however, you don’t really figure out if the fortune teller had any ‘real’ powers or not. If anything, it leans more toward it all just being coincidence and rather, it appears as though each Gold sibling – Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya – is the victim of self-fulfilling prophecy. I don’t believe their deaths would have happened on those exact days had they not spent their lives obsessing over what the fortune teller predicted.

The two siblings whose stories I found most interesting were Simon and Klara. I loved how close they were, how their relationship evolved in their youth, and how the death of one affected the other. Unfortunately, those were parts one and two of the book; by the middle and end when I got to Daniel and Varya, I wasn’t as intrigued by what was happening. Since they are the older siblings and the first half centred around the other two, by the time I got to Daniel and Varya, it felt like I had missed some of their major character development. I didn’t get to read about them growing up – it kind of just skipped forward in time to their adulthood’s – so there was a bit of a disconnect for me with regards to how invested I felt in their story lines.

Nonetheless, this book was a thought provoking one. If given the opportunity, I would never want to know my predicted date of death. You’d think that it would have the power to make you live life to the fullest and soak up every moment you have, but as illustrated by these siblings, I think it would definitely freak me out too much! 🙅🏻‍♀️

Have you read this book? Do you want to read this book? If given the chance, would you want to know your predicted death day – why or why not?! Let me know, I’d love to know other people’s opinions!

-Catherine

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Books on a Budget: The Best Ways to Read for Cheap (& Free!)

No matter if you own shelves and shelves of books with a swinging ladder (if you do, I’m jealous!) or if you don’t own a single book, bookworms all have one thing in common: we love to save money. Here are some simple ways you can access books for cheap, and even sometimes free and still get your literary fix!

The Library

One of the most obvious ways to save money is by going to your local library. Not only can you access free physical books, but you may also be able to access audio and e-books through something like the Overdrive service that allows you to borrow digital content. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a public library. Thankfully, there are tons of other ways to access books for cheap if the library isn’t convenient for you.

Little Free Library

Have any of you ever seen those photos on the internet of cute little birdhouse-looking structures with books inside it? Well, that is actually the Little Free Library which is aimed at sharing all your favourite books with your neighbors. How it works is people put up these waterproof boxes in their front yard, fill it with all the books they’ve already read and want to share with others, and anyone is free to come up, take a book, and leave one of their own! After a while the books will start to change and before long, you will have a little library in your neighborhood. You can also put a notebook inside so people can write their thoughts about the books they’ve left.

Image result for free little library

If you want to see if you have a Little Free Library close to you, you can check here. I ended up having one 10 minutes away from me and I didn’t even know it!

Open Library

If you want to read free e-books, Open Library is your place. It is part of the Internet Archive, so it has thousands of them; people can even submit their own. You can get free access to titles like Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; some of the books you can also read in other languages. If they do not have a title you are looking for, they do provide a link to where you can purchase it for cheap!

Interested in checking it out? You can do so here.

Thrift Stores / Bargain Bookshops

These are a great way to get books for cheap. I have seen brand new hardcover books in thrift and bargain bookshops for under $10. This one takes a bit more digging and is often hit or miss, but if you are lucky, the reward can be huge. Places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Value Village are good places to start thrifting for books.  If you are in Toronto Canada, BMV Bookstore is a good bargain bookshop to look into. If these don’t exist in your area, a quick Google search should be able to pinpoint more local places.

Do you have any other ways you read books for cheap? I would love to get some more tips!


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5 Beautiful Libraries on Beaches Around the World

How many times have you gone to the beach for a nice relaxing holiday in the sun and thought, “hm, it would be great if I had a book to read right about now”? Well, even if it’s zero times, you’re going to wish there were more beach libraries after seeing all the ones I found!

Albena, Bulgaria

One of the most beautiful sea resorts on the Bulgarian seaside, Albena is home to the first beach library of its kind in the European Union; it has since expanded into 3 libraries on the beach after the first gained a lot of success in 2013. There are over 6000 books that you can borrow completely free of charge in 15 languages across all 3 libraries.

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Beach Library

El Jadida, Morocco

This library in El Jadida actually commenced as an initiative by young people to try to get more citizens actively involved in reading since the books are free to borrow. In addition, they hoped it would draw tourists and be able to host events for groups of Moroccan authors to showcase their work. I love the boat shape of the shelves, it’s very unique.

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Bondi Beach, Australia

For one day only, Bondi Beach had a popup library right on the beach to celebrate IKEA’s 30th birthday. Featured here are IKEA’s most popular bookshelves called the Billy. First off, I want those bookshelves, and second, I wish this were there for longer so I could one day experience it!

Surfers browse a bookcase on Bondi beach

Tel Aviv, Israel

On Metzitzim Beach in Tel Aviv, beach-goers can check out free books in 5 languages from the library on wheels. Are paper books not your thing? Well, you’re in luck because you can connect to free WiFi provided by the municipality and download books on your phone or tablet instead! How cool is that?

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Qinhuangdao City, China

Do you like the idea of the beach but hate the idea of human interaction? We’ve all been there, but fear not because this beach library in China has got you covered! Sanlian Public Library is situated on a secluded beach—it’s literally the only thing in sight for miles and you have to walk to it as there are no roads in close vicinity. Surprisingly, it seems to be doing great despite it being a bit more inconvenient to get to, but maybe its seclusion is worth the trek for all the peace and serenity.

Quiet: The building is the only thing in sight for miles with no roads leading to the secluded spot

Hopefully next time you’re on vacation you have a book close at hand, If not, it’s nice to know there are places like these where you can get your fix quickly and conveniently 🙂

I think the one in Albena might be my favourite of the 5, but the one in China is a very close second for those times I want to be left completely alone lol! Which one is yours?

Catherine


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