This topic falls under a more general catergory of 'things I love. Full stop' rather than things I love about England. The problem is, however, that my relationship in this case is slightly more complex.
Historically, I have always loved libraries, since I knew what a book was. I have vivid memories of visits to the local library in Dayton, where I always took part in the summer contests they hosted to get kids reading. During holidays, even now, I head to the library and come back with stacks of books, way too many for me to ever get through, but I just can't resist! Anyway, my love of reading is something that's been a huge part of my life, and I'm sure will continue to be.
Since coming to Cambridge, however, the library has taken on a somewhat different persona. It is now a place of occasional stress and doom. To be fair, I can't usually spend more than an hour in here without getting distracted by an exciting book, so I certainly still get enjoyment out of it. The problem is that, for example, today it looks like this outside.
Yes, those are bars on the window. Only a little depressing, right? Here's a better view:
By the way, the library I'm talking about is the Trinity library, my college library. As college libraries go, it's a pretty good one. Bright, spacious, etc., but the bars on the windows take it a step slightly too far in my opinion. In addition, someone failed pretty spectacularly in printing out the labels for the different sections:
I suppose I'm feeling affectionate toward the college library right now, as it is officially the Easter holidays and so it's not full of first-years who think they should be in here 24/7. Granted, when Easter Term starts it will be crammed, and I will probably be keeping my distance. Fortunately, there are about 15 other libraries in Cambridge I can legitimately use. For one thing, every college has their own library, although obviously we don't use others'. Each faculty also has their own, which most anyone can use, as long as you can pretend to have some vague connection with the subject. (I'm an (occasional) fan of the History Faculty, Divinity Faculty, and Classics Faculty. My own, the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Faculty, has a horrific library, with a central working area with tables surrounded by books, which creates some kind of unpleasant fishbowl effect. Blergh.)
There is also the University Library. Once you get past its rather terrifying appearance (I'm always struck by it's resemblance to a concentration camp. I don't say this in jest, it really is scary. It was used in the filming of 1984 apparently.) Anyway, the thing is huge. And as such is filled with lots of little corners for quiet working. Still, the place stresses me out in general. But, there is a tea room attached, so at least food is easily accessible.
(Side rant: WHY must people wear flip flops in the library!?! Our library is pretty silent, so people tramping back and forth is slightly disruptive, people flip-flopping up and down the length of the library is seriously irritating. RAGE.)
Ok, feel better having that out of my system.
Anyway, I love libraries, I really do. And I love the Trinity library. Even when it's busy, at least it's filled with geeks like me. On Wednesday I was working here in the morning, and the fire alarm went off. After about 20 seconds of extremely loud wailing, it stopped. The entire time, no one moved. A couple people looked around, but no one was hugely concerned. We are such nerds.
(Another rant: If you have a cold, and still need to be in the library, PLEASE BRING TISSUES, so everyone doesn't have to listen to you sniffling!! Gah!)
(Final rant: If you need to talk to yourself while you study, please stay in your room!! I spent a few hours this afternoon across from a guy who was literally reading his notes to himself under his breath. Not ok.)
Conclusion: I love libraries. I really do. I'm just grumpy sometimes. It happens :)