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…