I’ve been around writers for quite a few years now. I’ve been taught by them, I’ve studied with them, lived with them, worked with them. I know a fair few writers, I’m happy to say I am one. Writers are all different, have different styles, aspirations, inspirations and thrive in different environments. There is, however, one common love in writers, forgive me if this is a little obvious, but we love libraries!
And here are 5 reasons why…
#1 The Books! Duh…
I challenge you to find me a writer who doesn’t love books. Journals, e-books, hardbacks, paperbacks, poetry, fiction, non-fiction – writers love to read, it helps us develop our style. Libraries are our motherships because they’re home to rows and rows of books. From Chaucer to Shakespeare, Rowling to Ginsberg, libraries house millions of authors and stories for us to be inspired by! The best part is you can take them home for FREE, just make sure you return them on time.
#2 The Buildings
There are some breath-taking libraries in the world, Abbey Library of St. Gallen in Switzerland, for example (pictured) . I struggle to imagine a writer who doesn’t appreciate great architecture, it helps our world building skills to be able to witness such beauty. If we could write a building as grand as Trinity College Library, Dublin we’d be so goddamn happy.
My personal favourite is Liverpool Central (pictured below) . A lot closer to home than St Gallen, and recently refurbished, the building retains its grand neo-classical façade on the outside step inside and it’s something completely different. Contemporary and up-to-date it’s like stepping in from a historic drama into a sci-fi, and what writer doesn’t like jumping into new genres?
#3 The Atmosphere
Sometimes, writers have hectic home lives (creative people tend to). Libraries provide a quiet place and a creative atmosphere for those who do not have them elsewhere. They are great places to go and meet like-minded people or spend some alone time with your head in a book. Libraries often play host to reading and/or writing groups, these provide writers with the opportunity to meet new people and discuss common interests. All of this helps feed our creative flame.
#4 The Resources
Have you noticed how well equipped libraries are these days? I’ve always thought there’s nothing as handy as a nearby library with computers and printers for public use. Recently it’s come to my attention just how many resources there are for writers in our libraries. Library archives play a huge part in many writers’ research, as do internet hubs and the full bookshelves – but there are also other facilities that help writers to do their thing. Cafes and games rooms give writers the opportunity to take time away from their projects and relax. Libraries really do have it all.
#5 The Adventure
There’s a certain adventure that happens when we visit libraries.
We enter the incredible buildings, admire the architecture, say hello to our friendly librarians, walk by the billions of books and search through in hope of finding a new author or book or world to fall in love with. We settle into our comfy chairs and read chapter after chapter, we sit at our computer screens, we write, we meet new and old friends. There’s a story there in itself, and that’s something that we writers love.
Lucy Ellam is a Project Coordinator at The Novella Award, which is currently accepting submissions.