"When you think of a library what do you think of? Is it a building?
Is it a collection of books or records or archive material?
Or is it more than that?
A library is so much more than a building, and the whole is often much greater than the sum of its contents. Libraries are portals, places to unlock your imagination or to increase your understanding of the world we live in. They are places for relaxation and pleasure; places to inspire us.
They also offer sanctuary to those seeking a safe physical and intellectual space. It is no wonder that all right-minded humans value libraries; we should take them for granted at our peril. There is perhaps no greater cultural crime than the closing of a library.
In this issue we take a tour around the world, from Michael Eastwood’s abstract appreciation of the recently- demolished Droylsden library in Greater Manchester, to photographer Gunner Gu’s images of the modernist libraries of Taiwan. We look at a couple of London libraries (one huge, one small), and we travel to Crosby, Merseyside and Chicago, Illinois . Julian House takes us on a sonic journey into Library Music and Sound Effect records, and Peter Wyeth gets lost in a Dutch shelving system.
It is worth noting that Ellie Micklewright’s article on The Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine was commissioned before the current conflict began. It goes without saying we send our support to Ellie’s family in Kyiv, and to the Ukranian people."