Wednesday, March 3, 2010

If These Walls Could Talk


I know it's just my opinion, but I think this is how a library should look. Rows of wooden shelves full of books, wooden tables warmly lit by lamps. This is the Linn-Henley Research Library. It was the "downtown library" from 1927- 1984 when a newer, snazzier, shinier one was built across the street. This is the library where my high school friends and I congregated on week nights to "work on term papers and very important assignments ( meet our boyfriends). I have many fond memories of those nights spent slaving away over reference books etc. I also have another memory I'll never forget. It's as clear as if it happened yesterday. One Sunday afternoon in May 1963, we really did have a paper due and were all headed downtown to actually work. Our parents told us we couldn't go. It wasn't safe. That was the day Bull Connor and his men took care of a demonstration in nearby Kelly Ingram Park with dogs and fire hoses. A sad day in the history of my city. While we've moved past those dark days, we haven't forgotten.

Despite that, when I walked in this place a few weeks ago, I had a good feeling as I nosed around. The only differences seemed to be the laptop computers on those beautiful old tables and the librarians were using a mouse instead of a rubber stamp. It was quiet, the lamps lit the lovely murals and gorgeous painted ceiling ( a post for another day). A nice time for me to look back. Thankfully this lovely old building has been kept in pristine condition and is still being used to its fullest.

This post is dedicated to my friends Loretta and Altadenahiker, who both remember and love card catalogs!

27 comments:

Kim said...

I can feel the pull of the wooden drawer in my hand just from seeing your written words. Aren't the libraries of our youth like second homes still. Glad yours is still going strong.
-Kim

Bibi said...

Even before I read your comment, I said to myself, 'Gee, a REAL library.' Thankfully, there still are some around. Like you, this type reminds me of university days.

Gunn said...

Wow, so nice...
Beautiful colors, composition and LIGHT!

Olivier said...

superbe photo, une tres belle lumiere dans la bibliotheque

Jilly said...

What a lovely library and what is double-impressive is all that natural light flooding in. Beautiful place to read and study.

Bergson said...

atmosphere that I like

brattcat said...

I, too, miss the old card catalogs. This is a gorgeous shot of an elegant library. We still have plenty beauties left here in New England, though our Brattleboro town library is a modern one.

B SQUARED said...

So much of my youth was spent in places like this.

Daryl said...

Those walls better talk in hushed tones if they talk at all .. quiet is part of what is so special about the library ... gorgeous place

altadenahiker said...

What a moving story, Virg, beautifully told. And don't these old libraries have that wonderful old book smell?

U "R" Us said...

Quite a tale. Nice photo too. There were a variety of libraries at my college. I always preferred the older ones like this. And with some morning or (more likely) afternoon light streaming in? Perfect.

Louis la Vache said...

If those walls could talk...they'd have to do it in a whisper, or the librarian will rap their knuckles with a ruler! SHHHH!!!!

«Louis» really likes the new masthead photo...

TheChieftess said...

Yep...this one's the quintessential library!!! However, most of the libraries I've spent my life in have been "modern" (if you can call the 60's modern) except for the LA Central library...an art treasure in and of itself...that we almost lost in a fire years ago...Having had a librarian grandmother...I had my own personal 60's version of google...I'd give her a call, and on Wednesday's she'd bring what she has...ok...that really only happened once or twice...I spent a fair amount of time perusing those wonderful old card catelogues along with the rest of you!!!

TheChieftess said...

PS...love the new banner photo...the lighting and angle is superb!!!

Dystopos said...

I do love this reading room. Lovely photograph.

Just a minor historical note: The demonstrations in May 1963 were centered on Kelly Ingram Park, a few blocks further west of Linn Park (then called Woodrow Wilson Park)

Yvi said...

Hi!

Like every day, a grat photo!

Nice colours...

Please, be quiet! ;-)

Greetings
Yvi

Virginia said...

Dystopos,
Of course you're right! What was I thinking??Apparently I DIDN"T remember it as if it were yesterday! HA Thank you so much for making me aware of that. I"m changing it on my blog immediately.

Sue said...

That is a real library...Just like the one I used to go to in HS back in the 60's....only your lucky that it still is there...They built a new modern one and turned the old beautiful one into offices then an arts center....I drive by it on occasion and I have such fond memories from back then....Glad your still able to enjoy yours....Sue.

Virginia said...

Thank you everyone. Once again I say that I'm so pleased that my photographs bring back fond memories for each of you.
V

Paula said...

My husband and I like to say that our love of libraries keeps us together despite all our differences - and there are many. I would give anything to be able to spend time in a place like that on a regular basis. No such luck here!

Bob Crowe said...

Card catalogs? That makes me remember when I was taught to use the Dewey Decimal System in high school. Rooms like this give me a good feeling. If you're ever in Boston, visit the general reading room of the main public library on Copley Square. You'll swoon.

I have library cards for St. Louis city and county as well as the town I live in, Webster Groves. I can't tell you when I was last in any of them. Now it's Amazon or the web. A bit sad, isn't it?

Petrea said...

I'd love to sit there and read for a while.

Your banner, by the way, is stunning. I don't know where you get the energy to change banners all the time.

steviewren said...

*sigh* I'm in love.

Dina said...

Browsing in the card catalog was almost as fun as browsing in the stacks when you had to research a paper.
It is truly a beautiful library that instills reverence for reading and learning.

Chuck Pefley said...

Virginia, I'd meant to leave a comment when I saw this wonderful reading room image before ... but alas, I got side-tracked. (sigh)

Bob Crowe mentioned the Boston library, and I would both concur as well as add the NYC library reading rooms ... similar feelings of "holy" or "sacred" places, IMHO.

I'm providing a link here to a few images I've made of both Boston and NYC reading rooms.

http://tinyurl.com/ykf5s2m

Nathalie said...

I agree, this is how a library should look.

FireLight said...

It is indeed a gorgeous library...I used to go there to research English and Scottish ballads when I was in high school...ahhh the life of the English major!