The library as spiritual experience

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I think this is a record for me: Three posts in one day, and all about libraries to boot, to mark the occasion of the “Evening in the Stacks” fundraising event at the Miller Branch of the Howard County Library System.

After finishing my last post I happened to be thinking of the role that libraries play in the life of their communities and how libraries are portrayed in TV and films: as just another setting for sitcom wisecracking and rom-com “meeting cute”, or perhaps as a place to go to discover mysterious dark secrets leading to overblown action sequences—what I’ll call the “Indiana Jones” or Da Vinci Code perspective.

As an antidote to all that I present possibly the most beautiful cinematic scene ever set in a library, from the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin), as angels (the men and women in long coats and scarves) visit the Berlin State Library (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) and overhear the thoughts of the patrons as they read.