It’s a Roof Garden, It’s a Library, It’s One of My New Top 10 Favorite Places in the World

September 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yes, I am back in Paris, but I want to write a bit more about Warsaw. In particular, I want to write about Ogródy Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie. Despite somewhat obsessively keeping track of what are known to be some of the best, most beautiful, most historic, most interesting, etc., libraries in the world, I had never heard of this one. Fortunately, the hostel I stayed in gave me a small guidebook in French when I arrived. Over the weekend when I had time to play the tourist, this was one of the first places I wanted to visit. It was worth every minute, and I spent a lot of time there. I think I watched at least five tour groups come and go before I felt ready to leave.

First of all, the library building itself is very impressive. I suppose they built the entire structure with the garden in mind as it looks more like a greenhouse than a library. It is all windows and light and green and height. Its size makes it imposing, but all the plants surrounding and especially crowning the library, soften any harshness.

Second, I love gardens. I love to wander outdoors. I love to see plants and flowers and trees, ones that are familiar, ones that surprise me. This garden offers all of that plus so much more. Water, fountains, views, bridges, shade, sun, peeks into the library. And! For the true librarian obsessive which I happily am, it even offers a glimpse into what must be one of the most coveted librarian offices in the world. Certainly I am now coveting it and wondering what it would take for me to be hired by the University of Warsaw’s Library, and then, what it would take for me to end up in this office.

I think I will have to settle for enjoying the many, many photographs I took, and the knowledge that this beautiful, amazing, alive, growing, breathing, building, which is also a LIBRARY exists someplace in the world.

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