Thursday, August 9, 2018

King of the library: The tenth decree

Oh if I were king of the library!

I have mused on this a few times in the course of this blog. Eight times to be precise, and you can find the links to them over on the sidebar to your right.

But inspiration has struck again, revelation, imagination, dreams, visions, longings, hallucinations, castles in the sky!

I have a decree!

The Ninth Decree:

The main room of the library shall be elaborately redecorated according to a theme every year.

I understand that this needs a little explaining.

A vast rebuild of my library was done about eight or nine years ago. It was done in the style of cutting edge minimalism, on a budget, circa 1979 Berlin (going by a photograph I saw of their library). I'm not complaining, exactly, but it's a sort of design that over a very few years becomes bland. But because it is also minimal, with a vast gray floor and even vaster, soaring, white, unadorned walls, it begs for expression.

Now let me also say that, despite this main room being a featured and even essential space for my library, this is also an almost throwaway space. It houses the front desk, several little featured kiosks of mini collections, many many Internet computers, and our vast AV collections. It is a noisier space, leading to Teens, Children's, the work room, and the coffee shop, and it is a more social space where people pass through and get things done. It is not our study spaces, our quiet spaces, our main adult book collections, or our traditional library space. It is not our essential library. It longs for fun!

We will make it fun. It will have a theme!

For our first theme we will begin with: 

A Plush English Drawing Room. 

The massive walls will be draped in great banners of rich velvet, overhung occasionally with large Manor House type oil paintings; grave portraits, hunting scenes, rustic and bucolic cows, whatever. We can throw down some shabby oriental rugs, they only have to survive a year, and then we will carefully set up little two to three people conversation areas with heavy leather arm chairs and small, richly draped tables with charming table lamps. In the evenings waitstaff from the coffee shop will take your orders for cocktails at these very tables. A large, very quiet and well-behaved mastiff will more or less live on the premises. Amid all the DVDs and CDs we can probably squeeze in some nice towering oak bookshelves full of dated, leather bound classics and loads of oddball and obscurely fascinating period ephemera.

And that's merely for year one. So if you don't like it just go upstairs and wait a few hundred days.

 Future options include a pirate ship theme, a Science Fiction Spaceship, Enchanted Gardens with a central fountain, a Traditional Japanese Tearoom, the undersea world, Mayan Civilization, and  an African Safari. The possibilities are endless, and our space, while bland and a bit formless, makes the perfect canvas.

So it shall be. And so it is decreed, this day, etc. etc.

The King.


  1. Dear King Peter,

    While the design of your first theme (Plush English Drawing Room) is an excellent choice, you know they'll choke the life out of the rug. Even if designed to last only a year, it will be ensconced in the decor for at least 15 years. I can picture it now ... threadbaren and colorless, only to be removed once someone trips over the warp and breaks a wrist.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts on the matter. As a king I am, of course, wildly confident in anything I think of because I'm pretty sure that's how power is. Yes, THEY would leave the carpet just as you say, but I will be THEM in this scenario (as King), and so these rugs will have to make room for the mossy stone floor of the next scenario (Mayan Civilization, for instance).

      As to the people tripping and breaking a wrist it merely stirs an appealing idea about making libraries more dangerous. Maybe for my next kingly decree...

  2. First design sounds...interesting. But if you get a mastiff on the first floor, I want at least one cat upstairs.

    1. No worries, if I'm King of the Library cats are a given.


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