In my view libraries are sacred places of human civilization worthy of spending most of our waking hours. Prior to digital revolution library buildings have got lot bulk share of funds from library corpus, sometimes more than the books they hold within them. If you have seen some of these exquisite libraries around the world, the artwork on their walls, the wood carvings you will see that they are work of great human art, worthy of spending and preserving. Unfortunately most of these libraries are not open to general public, their access is limited to those in power and scholars (how do I become a scholar without reading?) and those that are open are far from where you live. An example is Chennai’s Connemara library heritage section – the artwork and woodwork in the place is supposed to outstanding, but no public is allowed inside it on the pretext of preserving it!.
Thanks to Digital Revolution most of the books ever published are (slowly) becoming available online (most for free) by efforts like Project Gutenberg, Open Library, Hathi Trust and Project Madurai. For seeing and enjoying the artwork we are getting to see the photographs online and dream. Here is a collection of breathtaking photographs of 62 libraries around the world from Mentalfloss site.
To bring these images closer to you everyday, you can install the photographs as wallpapers of your Windows PC (Windows 7 or 8). To do that go to this page at Microsoft and download a Windows theme aptly titled “The Beauty of Books” theme. It has 13 images, my favourites are following two.
On a related subject The Hindu recently published a list of lesser known libraries in Chennai that’s holding valuable books,;Tamil The Hindu has written about one Mr.Balasubramanian in Trichy having 100,000 books in his house where has 13 rooms just for books; one Mr.Krishnamoorthy in Pudukottai on his own efforts running 100,000 book library called Gnanalaya Library – what great book lovers.