Authors, I’m sure, are no strangers to their local libraries. What better place to gather inspiration for their own stories than the homes of thousands of others? It’s not surprising that now and then, authors like to pay homage to libraries by writing one into their books.
This week, April 8-14, is National Library Week! To celebrate this literary week, I composed a list of four famous fictional libraries.
1. The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Hogwarts Library, infamous for its Restricted Section, is the key element to solving Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s mystery of the philosopher’s stone.
This magnificent library has thousands of books upon thousands of shelves, with each book being protected by both special charms and the indefatigable Hogwarts librarian, Madam Pince.
2. The Library of Babel, “The Library of Babel” by Jorge Luis Borges
Perhaps it was searching for an understanding of the transcendence of the universe that inspired Borges, a librarian himself, to write a short story about a library that contains all possible books in all possible languages. The Library of Babel is a universe unto itself, made up of so many books, some in incomprehensible languages, that it becomes unusable as a spring of knowledge.
3. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
This library is an immense, old library that houses innumerable forgotten titles. Only those initiated can take a book from its hallowed shelves, but once they do, they are responsible for protecting that book for life. The protagonist’s selection from these shelves – The Shadow of the Wind – leads him on a journey to discover as much as he can about its mysterious author.
4. Unseen University’s Library, Sourcery by Terry Pratchett
This library features dangerous books that must be chained to their shelves. It’s also another library that contains all possible books, thanks to its place in L-Space. This space links every library to every other library, and allows readers to travel between points in space and time.
So, dear readers, tell us: what’s your favorite fictional library?
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