By Melissa Rayner
Libraries mean so much to so many people. For me, personally, the library represents a place of belonging and comfort, a place of endless possibilities, and a dream. My mother took me to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in theaters for my seventh birthday. Being that I was always a shy, imaginative child, books had already become my best friends and most constant of companions by then. So, it should be no surprise that my young heart fell irrevocably in love with the Beast the moment he gifted Belle his colossal castle library.
In the more than 20 years since my first viewing of this film, my dream has not wavered once. I still crave that library for myself, and I’m still searching for the perfect house that has just the right layout–and more than enough space–to integrate a huge home library.
To honor National Library Week (a holiday of the utmost importance in my book!), I’d like to share a series of other dream-making libraries. Like Belle’s, some of them do live within castles, others reside in government quarters, and still others are closed to the public. I’ve scoured Gale’s historical archives via Gale Artemis: Primary Sources in order to find the most luxurious and the most special libraries, and now I’d like to share them with you. Enjoy!
Let’s start with a posh library standing right next to a posh hotel. Now that’s how you travel in style!
Rare, antique books and cool, twisty staircases. I need to go here!
A fireplace, vaulted ceilings, and my own set of cherubs? Sold!
Is my own royal library an option?
Wait… If I could somehow get elected president, then they’d have to build me my own library.
As it turns out, the British Raj had some of the most beautiful libraries history has to offer.
Then again, nothing beats a cute and cushy home library…
And, last but certainly not least, let’s not forget how much the librarian offers to those of us with Belle syndrome. C’mon, I know I’m not alone in this!
Melissa is obsessed with books, birds, and bonbons. She is a new mom and holds an MA in Applied Sociology. She also writes fiction and skips about the interweb as Emlyn Chand.
- “XII. THE ROYAL LIBRARY.” Nineteenth-Century Photographs from the Royal Archives, Windsor. Primary Source Media. Nineteenth Century Collections Online. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
- Frith, Francis. “The Victoria Hotel, and Dorman’s Library, St. Leonards.” Photographs from the National Media Museum. Primary Source Media, 1864. Nineteenth Century Collections Online. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
- Kitch, Ed. Finds Glamor in Library. 16 Mar. 1965. TS News Features, 1944-1993: News Features, 1944-1993. Associated Press Corporate Archives. Associated Press Collections Online. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
- Reedy, Jerry. “A Private Library That Keeps Its Eye on the Public.” Smithsonian Magazine Mar. 1988: 125+. Smithsonian Collections Online. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
- “Roberts and Reagan.” Washington, D.C. Bureau Image Collection. Primary Source Media, 2006. Associated Press Collections Online. Web. 7 Apr. 2015
- “Sir Arthur Schuster’s Study.” Photographs from the Wellcome Library for the History of Medicine. Primary Source Media, 1900. Nineteenth Century Collections Online. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
- The Ladies Library. Vol. 1. London: Printed for Jacob Tonson and Sold by W. Mears, 1714. Nineteenth Century Collections Online. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
- Unknown. “Library in Fort, [Rampur].” Photographs from the India Collection at the British Library. Primary Source Media, 1905. Nineteenth Century Collections Online. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.