I love libraries...not just what you can get from them, (free books, old movies, audio CD's, back issues of Vogue, all without the pressure or commitment to buy anything) but the atmosphere within a library. The din and hum of visitors trying to be quiet, the odd child breaking out from the confines of the 'indoor voice' and then the turned heads as an embarrassed mom tries to shush her kid, (I'm sure that will be me in a few years!) the sheer volume of information at one's fingertips--I love it all. Even the exteriors can be pleasing, especially in larger cities. Vancouver's library is a stunning work of art; if you've never been to the Vancouver Public Library's main branch you should go next time you're in the city--from the outside it looks like a modern-day Coliseum.
So yesterday I finally treated myself to my first visit to Livermore's main branch and I was really pleased with how inviting it was. Warm lighting, (they went easy on the fluorescents, which I was happy about. I've always said fluorescent lighting is the devil's lighting) visible timber trusses, and neutral earth tones made the whole place seem more like a lodge than a library. If only there'd been a large stone fireplace at the end, soaring upwards towards vaulted ceilings...
Anyway, the last great feature of this particular library was it's automatic sliding doors. I never leave a library with just a book or two, and am usually weighed down to the point where if I were grocery shopping, I'd look ridiculous without a cart. So when the automatic doors whirred open I felt really grateful for not having to turn my back to the door, heave the door open with my shoulders, and leave the library backwards. Thank you Livermore for providing me with the opportunity to maintain my dignity here.
What was in my hefty stack of books you ask? A couple pictorial coffee table books, but mostly travel memoirs and guides. China, the Middle East, a couple about Iran. You know, docile, indifferent places...no troublemakers in this pack! Oh, and a guidebook to Switzerland, because that is where I'll be headed to shoot a wedding after Christmas!!! The most neutral place on earth! It's been a year and a half since I've been outside of Canada & the US and I'm dying to explore some place new, even if just for a week or so. Plus it'll be great to see an old friend get hitched, not to mention provide the newlyweds with a snowy photo shoot in front of a castle or something (fingers crossed!). Chocolate, snow, fondue, (CHEESE!!!!) castles, the Alps....I seriously cannot wait!
Oh, and if you have any favourite reads that might inspire my trip, let me know so I can hit up the library again :-)