After visiting the Library of Birmingham I was inspired to write a list of my favourite libraries:
Ten libraries I have loved
Essex Road Library London N1,
Childhood hours spent lapping up Sherlock Holmes
and persevering with Captain Hornblower.
St John’s Street Library London EC1,
Fond teenage memories of dashing young
Spanish twin working there and
reading Chekov, Dostoevsky and Ionesco.
Reading University Library, anonymous building,
but brilliant, shiny books in their thousands;
Biggest Italian collection in the country.
And I like the reading pun, my favourite pastime.
Natural History Museum Library researching
My animal alphabet in five languages.
The old reading room in British Museum,
Concentrating under the high dome and desk lights.
New British Library, researching Zaira, my historical novel.
St John’s Cambridge for its witches and pure magnificence
With nomenclature reminiscent of St John’s Street.
Thomas Plumes Library in Maldon, quaint yet inspiring,
Climbing the old stairs to that wonder of books.
Albert Soames, Essex University Library,
In spite of its Pater Noster lift
In the form of a loop,
Like rosary beads for Hail Marys
and Our Fathers in Latin.
Reminding me of my eponymous first Library,
The road leading to Essex…
Finally, The Library of Birmingham,
Sheer exhilaration, exuberance
And boldness, reaching for the skies,
A heavenly experience
But not that many books…