I shouldn't be thinking about libraries. I'm on vacation, right? Still, I'm a bibliophile through and through, and quite possibly can't help it. I like old books, I like new books, and as much as I whine about my job at times, I really like libraries. They've always seemed to be magical places, reliquaries...all those shelves, holding all those books, that have all those pages containing the secrets of the universe. (and to think...I am a sentry!)
Unfortunately, because books are now mass produced, easily had and cheaply acquired, libraries are no longer designed to be sacred space. Function trumps form, reading rooms are transfigured into computer labs, card catalogs are relegated to dusty basements.
Luckily, the old libraries are being saved and cherished. You can see some them at Librophiliac Love Letter. Some of them just take my breath away.
And for those of us marvel at old documents, illustrations, and photographs, the New York Public Library has made a digital gallery. The collection is extensive, with an A to Z list of subjects so intriguing that I could spend hours at the site. Everything is cataloged and cross-referenced, and the images are just stunning, like this: