i’d like to think i whole-heartedly welcome the continuing digitization of the world’s accumulated knowledge (really, where would i be without Wikipedia?) but i’ve always had a soft spot for old libraries. even in college i would eschew the Brutalist main library for the hallowed-halls-esque Deering Library to study in. there’s something about the high ceilings and filtered sunlight streaming through tall windows, the musty smell of old paper and ink, and that inescapable, reassuring feeling that you are mingling with the ghosts of intelligentsia past.
the first library i’ve been to that took my breath away was the Joanina Library of the University of Coimbra in Portugal, but today’s visit to the Old Library at Trinity College was up there. at the end of the overpriced Book of Kells exhibit you are released into the Long Room where jaws drop, your nose inhales particles of centuries-old books, and cameras can finally come out. (it does partially make up for the nine euro entrance fee!)