[Small Chirp] Four Famous Fictional Libraries

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?


More Library Week Related Links:

11 thoughts on “[Small Chirp] Four Famous Fictional Libraries

  1. The library described by Richard Brautigan in The Abortion: A Historical Romance, a collection of unpublished manuscripts by people young and old, which was actually made into a reality as The Brautigan Library (http://thebrautiganlibrary.org/). When I first read the novel, I thought it’d be wonderful to have a library where anyone could just walk in and leave a book on the shelf that felt right to them. Happily, I wasn’t the only one!

  2. The Library in the world of Doctor Who! The entire world is a library, filled with every book there ever is, was, and will be.

  3. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. My favorite book is from there… The Shadow of the Wind. I was hoping one of the Canaries had written a review. That’s a hell of a lot of canaries on this blog… I guess I will have to read the ‘about’.

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