Creating Libraries And Bookshops From Abandoned Buildings
Start writing a post

Creating Libraries And Bookshops From Abandoned Buildings

"No place affords a more striking conviction of the vanity of human hopes than a human library" - Samuel Johnson

Franganillo, Jorge "Boekhandel Dominicanen." Flickr. Taken on April 5, 2015.

Of course, you definitely need a place that can afford that hope, and it can come in any form. What has always fascinated me was trying to learn how libraries are created, whether they are world-renowned or local.

The creation of a place with books could only be maintained by the people who consistently read them, including any famous authors who may have viewed a library or bookshop as an escape. This is what ensures people from many walks of life to congregate based on their love of literature. These waves of patrons would have to be there in order for the literature it contained to no longer be neglected. Oftentimes, the library itself can act as a depository for books abandoned either in the trash or deaccessioned by another library.

The books would be used again, just as much as the building that they are housed within. This is an especially crucial component within the creation since the library might be built in an abandoned building, such as a monastery of the Dominican order (in the case of the Boekhandel Dominicanen located in Maastricht, Netherlands). Since the buildings might be old, there would need to be restoration work to be done, such as enlarging the building, refurbishing the glass, and using computer numerical control (CNC) in order to mill new desks and shelves.

Sometimes, this library would be dedicated to someone important who may have loved literature. In the case of the Heiltsuk nation in British Columbia, there was an effort to preserve the personal library of their community leader named Thistalalh [tsis-tuh-luh]. His granddaughter established the library by petitioning for books from the local community, which immediately overflown with 1000 volumes of literature. Although the Thistalalh Memorial Library was damaged by a fire in 2013, it was clear that Thistalalh was well-beloved enough to preserve a library in his honor.

In the university from where I graduated, its library was previously a mansion owned by members of the Guggenheim family; and you could see it was owned by that family, with the elaborate, neoclassical architecture with fancy trappings such as white stucco and wide arcades of columns. Years after the Guggenheim couple who owned it passed away, the library was donated by the Guggenheim Foundation to Monmouth University. There is a profound sense of awe that can come when seeing the present meeting with the past. In this case, with computers and desks being juxtaposed with the chestnut and walnut paneling; or walking into a classroom and finding a wide panoramic mirror hanging above what used to be a faucet.

Of course, none of this implies that repurposed buildings make better libraries than buildings already established to contain book collections. To quote an article by the Guardian:

"Purpose-built bookshops can be every bit as beautiful as converted buildings."

The importance that repurposed buildings do have is when they are no longer considered a waste of money and raw materials and are not left to rot. It is also important since it involves community-building, with the Thistalalh Memorial Library being the perfect example. It would restore the use of the buildings, but also the relevance that it has to the surrounding area; more specifically for the younger generation.

Anywhere in any building, a library can be established so long as it has the literal infrastructure to maintain the collection of books. Whether it was a bank, a theatre, or a monastery, what matters to every community is what purpose it will have when it does not fulfill it anymore. It is up to them to be able to reestablish those ties with those buildings by making them into libraries that can be enjoyed by entire generations.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments