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Old books / new delights

Just spent half an hour in the Rare Books Room at the National Library. I die. So. cool. I’ve been in there before but I’m blown away every time, and it reminds me what a frickn cool place I work in.

There’s an Audubon that is A METRE AND A HALF LONG. Please picture this book. A metre and a half. That is so epic. And some poor mop has the job of putting it in an archival box. This is not normal bedtime reading.

There’s books with 300 year old velvet ribbon bookmarks still tucked in the pages. There’s books entirely made of slabs of leather. Some of them you can’t even pick up, they weigh half a ton.  There’s books with golden pages. There’s handpainted bibles and enough copies of Milton’s Paradise Lost to fill an entire bookshelf. Which makes me laugh, because they DO.

I can’t believe our Special Printed Collections Librarian Ruth gets to live in there practically 24/7. I’d never get anything done.

I wanted to touch everything, but “It’s the loving that made them like in the first place. Love them from a distance!”

Sob. I am in a room full of unreadable books. Is this what hell looks like?


About writehandedgirl

Sarah is a writer who is passionate about social justice, feminism, politics, and cats. She is a columnist and poet and currently lives in Nelson. You can follow Sarah on Twitter (@_writehanded_) or read more of her writing at


One thought on “Old books / new delights

  1. Sounds like hell to me! Think about a kid in a candy store, who is only allowed to choose one sweet – same thing!

    Posted by Cafe Chick | May 25, 2009, 4:35 am

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