Making drawings of books wasn’t so easy, however. I visited several libraries I knew and liked, but something was lacking. Was it because I was not seeing the "real" library? If so, where could that "real" library be?
I went on a search, a kind of pilgrimage, and finally arrived at the capital of learning, Oxford, the “City of Dreamy Spires.” There, hundreds and even thousands of libraries, I thought, would surely be found somewhere beyond the ancient stone walls and locked oak doors. I became a diligent pupil during an academic year at Oxford spent studying the secret of books, how they contain the conception of a person, the memories of a whole tribe, the wisdom of millennia, all within that compact object that a hand can hold—what wonders a single book enshrines!
It was as though I had been given a magic wand allowing me to enter a secret garden at whose heart I discovered Oxford’s libraries, like gems tucked away deep inside its cloisters of learning.
Here are my portraits of those libraries, some of which are as old as the city itself.
Libraries are not only places where knowledge and thoughts and stories have been preserved. They are also a record of the countless people who studied in them—with their dreams, ambitions and aspirations—over time, across the centuries, over the very stretch of history.
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