Last week my friend Marie and I took a little field trip to an amazing and tiny subscription library in a town where I used to live. In fact, for several years I lived only 5 blocks away from this little treasure and never knew it was there. We spent a wonderful day browsing in this gem–if Garrison Keillor had visited it, he might have described it as “the little library that time forgot.”
There were all the things you’d expect in a library: books, librarians, a catalog (though in this case, the library’s founder used his own cataloging system. The only libraries in the world that use the same system are this one and–owing to the intervention of a gentleman from India who coincided in time with our place’s founder–just about every library in India).
What we didn’t expect was art. The books in the library and the library itself are examplary of the most amazing and elegant design. Take, for instance, the back of this book on the British peerage:
This won’t be the last time you see this design, as I’m determined to incorporate it into . . . I don’t know yet, but something.
Shortly after I spotted that one, Marie said, “Look up.” I did, and saw this:
Skylights in the main reading room operate (or operated? it was a cold day and they were closed) by means of this wonderful steam-punkish series of gears. Against the pale blue chilly sky they have a marvelous sculptural quality.
Even the card catalog, testament to the founder’s categorical sense and someone’s wonderful hand, makes one want to slip out the cards (I didn’t, I swear) and have them framed:
I think being at the library sharpened our senses and made us more acutely aware of the elegance of things we saw around us. Just walking over to the little Vietnamese restaurant where we had lunch was like being on an art tour. Outside of the grounds of a famous secret society, for instance, I couldn’t resist capturing this:
At the restaurant, we were treated to this view outside of the window:
And this one on the table:
All art should be so delicious.