Category Archives: art

National Libraries Day

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The Alibi Library enjoyed celebrating National Libraries day with everyone this weekend!!  We all have hangovers and alibis after our own bookathon involving the Sherlock Holmes series in which one was expected to drink a snifter every time a body part was mentioned. Unfortunately the word “hand” proved rather more frequent than we´d imagined:

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Other Library Day events were better organised and well supported. Find out about more events and follow up here and here:

National Libraries Day

The Library Campaign

Next up Valentine´s Day for a romantic rendezvous in a Library near you!

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How Bunbury became

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One of Aleister Crowley´s less curious friends came by that day. If I am not mistaken it was a young Louis Umfreville Wilkinson, but maybe he came after Reading Gaol.  Memory is such a sly thing and too often it plays tricks on the old.

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Well this young gentleman approached us for help. A dismal Saturday morning it was too. His umbrella safely stowed, he enquired after a lesser strain of Alibi often called Habili due to its  popularity in Middle Eastern lands. It was to be for a certain famed individual.

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We were not unduly taken aback, it was quite normal for a friend to act as a representative or intermediary and making such an approach on behalf of a public figure. And Oscar was already enormously well known.

 

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It seemed that Mr Wilde was possessed of the need to make a trip to Sunbury to meet a scholar from Banbury, to whose poetry he had grown quite affectionate.  The meeting with the scholar, it transpired, was to be kept, be any means necessary, from the public eye.

The reason for the secrecy was not revealed.

I can´t imagine…

 

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Nothing could have been easier.  It took no time to invent an effective Habili tailor made to Oscar´s circumstances.

 

 

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We gave him details of a very elderly, very frail relative.  To this sketch, a few minutiae were added whose particulars could be checked out to the satisfaction of any keen journalist, private investigator or any such prying eyes.  And we gave this infirm relative the name Bunbury.

 

 

Bunbury was born!

 

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And so the young gentleman left satisfied that all could handled in a tidy fashion, but such was his haste that he forgot his umbrella. A sad state of affairs given the climate of this city.

 

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Oscar took the whole thing very seriously,  using the alibi on numerous occasions and even once spoiling us with an impromtu visit in persona.

 

 

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It was such meticulousness on Oscar´s part that led us to give the whole affair the codename Earnest, .  Although the alibi was subsequently used by a notable series of Uranists, it should be appreciated that Codename Earnest was infact employed by individuals of all tastes including, notoriously, a leading politician of the day.

 

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Unfortunately,  this alibi -echo gave rise to Oscar´s long standing dispute with ourselves and his subsequent reticence in consulting our archives during his appallingly misconceived libel case and mishandled trial.

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A reluctance which without doubt led to his encarcelation. Criminal!

 

 

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Still got the umbrella somewhere hereabouts.

Guide to fictional Libraries #16 A Madrid Summer Night´s Dream pt 2 Sci- Fi

Madrid, the town I have chosen  to call home for the last ten years, has a multitude of libraries that might well have fallen straight from the pages of a fantasy or science fiction novel. Despite drastic cuts carried out in the name of austerity, most of the libraries included here are open to the general public and I encourage the Madrileños to support their local with a visit.

For Sci-Fi  we should start with my local, Pedro Salinas, in Puerta de Toledo, constructed in 1992 by Juan Navarro Baldeweg, zapped out of Terry Eagleton´s discworld.

pedro-salinas-library5.1navarro-toledoLa biblioteca Ana Maria Matute in Carabanchel, by RSP architects, like some crazy glass headed dinosaur.

ana maria matuteamatutefachadaNoname aaThe Rafael Alberti Library by Andrés Perea Ortega with its magnificent Mies van der Rohe facade:

7a1 d885c2358f7119b7f830ccebb6298d2d1307964258_740215_0000000000_noticia_normalThe Gloria Fuertes public library whose cyclopian facade stares out over a bleak Barajas.

gloria fuerThe Luis Martin Santos Library in Vallecas created by architects Mario San Juan Calle, Ángel Sevillano Martín e Iván Carpintero López enjoys some fantastic reading spaces:

luis martin-santos vallecas07 descarga 02The Jose Hierro library in Usera (Ábalos y Herreros, 2002) functionally designed to act as a “catalyst” in the local community.

useraThe Mara Moliner Library by Miguel Cabanes Ginés, Elena Robles Alonso, Pedro Gambín Hurtado (2013)

Mara MolinerThe ESIC Library of Marketing Finance and Economy

esic marketing finanzas economiaRather more well known is the library of the Reina Sofia modern art gallery by Jean Nouvel.

robinson4-18-12images (4)images (3)bibliotecaLeon Tolstoi in Las Rozas seems to have simply appeared out of nowhere since no reference to its construction can be found.  An invisible architect?

leon tolstoi majadehondaOr how about the polytechnic University library, below?

politecnica-madridAnd near to the Retiro these two gems:

Casa de Fieras:

descarga (1)Biblioteca Retiro in the Calle Doctor Esquerdo:retiroRetiro 300x300These and other gems in the Community of Madrid have suffered cuts to services, budgets, opening times affecting users, collections, reading groups etc

Support your local library to avoid situations like this one (Bilblioteca Publica Joaquin Vilumbrales, Alcorcon) where local protest was necessary to restore their access to something like approaching a good library service.DSC00453

Guide to fictional Libraries #16 A Madrid Summer Night´s Dream pt 1 Fantasy

Madrid, the town I have chosen  to call home for the last ten years, has a multitude of libraries that might well have fallen straight from the pages of a fantasy or science fiction novel. Despite drastic cuts carried out in the name of austerity, most of the libraries included here are open to the general public (especially those in the Sci-fi group from the next post) and I encourage the Madrileños to support their local with a visit.

For fantasy we could start with the Athenæum on the Prado.  Founded in 1835 (for members only) it is currently threatened with bankruptcy (2013) due to the reduction in grants from Madrid city council.

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A short distance away on my street, is the no less impressive Library of the UNED (Open University), Escuelas Pias de San Fernando built out of the ruins of a religious school destroyed at the beginning of the Civil War.  As an anecdote the original school (which was free and took up to 200 kids) included the first deaf school in Spain founded in 1795.

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The Madrid regional library Joaquín Leguina was built out of the old Aguilá Brewery.  The architects  Emilio Tuñón Álvarez y Luis Moreno Mansilla converted the original 1912 -1935 structures by Eugenio Jiménez Correa and Luis Sainz de los Terreros .

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Finally in this section, the National Library, founded in 1712 and described by expert Jesús Cuadrado as “the biggest colander” in the world, able to make an endless quantity of items of popular culture disappear, be they comics, stamps, maps, manuscripts, posters, books and even a codex of Leornardo de Vinci ( – the Alibi Library would be proud!)

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Next up the sci-fi libraries of Madrid…

Guide to fictional Libraries #14 Non-fiction: Mobile libraries

I always think of the yellow county council vans of England when someone mentions Mobile Library Services.

mobile-library-in-rural-northumberland-237869600Here are a few imaginative alternatives:

BiblioburroColumbia

5c59556827c01994fc55781ebbe91671Mongolia.

451341f078cc6c5caa3041a24c6bd74fCartagena de Indias, Colombia

500dada17de63bc011f5d1b5fac2ce29Airstream Library. USA

5ae3f36d2d655d30c0274986f885530eApparently owned by Jim Hensen.

Thanks to http://www.thepolisblog.org for the wonderful post from which much of this information has been cribbed.

Guide to fictional Libraries #13 Non-fiction: The world’s smallest libraries

Stranger than fiction? Small is beautiful? Here are some curious community ideas to help enter fictional space:

1.

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As phone boxes are no longer in use, BT gave Westbury-sub-Mendip the option of either having the box removed or  buying it for £1.

The village chose the latter and after a tea party was held, the idea to turn it into a library was decided upon.

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2. In New York a bright yellow plastic water tank housing 40 books allows city-dwellers to take a break from the pace of life in the metropolis by chilling out with a good story.

article-2335595-1A22EF94000005DC-685_634x493The Little Free Library was designed by Venezuelan architects Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente using recycled materials to create an ‘inhabitable’ environment, which immerses its users in the experience of browsing books while also protecting the books inside from the elements.

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The Corner Library, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY was created by artist, Colin McMullan, as an art project.

Anyone in the local area can access the library.  They just need to obtain a “library card” first from Colin.  The “card” consists of the code to unlock the library.  Once a person has become a member they can borrow any item from the library and share any items they want.

worlds-smallest-libraryOf course the library is always open to members and you certainly don’t have to worry about it being closed due to budget cuts.  We think it’s a great idea.

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Bruce Blaisdell, of Mankato, Minn., decided to build his own Little Library free book exchange after seeing one in a neighboring town. He’s noticed that children use it most often. They walk by the retired teacher’s Marshall Street home on their way to and from Jefferson Elementary. His “Little Library” has a note on the window that says the kids are free to take a book or leave one.

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5. This library in Cardigan, on Prince Edward Island, Canada, operated by John A. MacDonald, sits in a building that measures 3.5 x 3.5 metres, and holds about 1,800 books; a lifetime membership costs $5, and it runs on an honour system.

213498-b_smallest_library_Cardigan_CanadaCourtesy of: World Record Academy; BBC; Bob Dolby; Daily Mail; publiclibraries.com/blog/ ; The Augusta Chronicle…

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

from:

The Matilda Project

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. The Alibi Library has always been particularly fond of this blog whose mission statement reads:

I’ll scour the world and London, my adopted hometown and the greatest city in the galaxy, by the way (yeah that’s right, take that Martian metropolises) for the little independent bookshops that smell of paper and sell you not just a book, but a little piece of human history.   Every week, no matter where in the world my crazy nomadic lifestyle takes me, I’ll share a new indie bookshop.

Every week one is able to find a scrupulously detailed review of a trusty book seller accompanied by artistically pleasing photography of their premises. Furthermore, to enhance your book shopping experience, a handy map is provided, indicating the location of all the fabulous bookshops reviewed. Indeed the Alibi Library has some ambition to become the first fictional library or book shop reviewed therein.

This week the site beseeches its followers verily:

So friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears and let me beseech you to do me a favour.  If you have a couple of Christmas gifts left to buy, please please consider buying books for your loved ones; they’re the present that never goes out of style!  And please, if you would, make the effort to do it in a bricks and mortar bookshop.  If it’s a nice and friendly local independent one, well then all the better.

And the Alibi Library would like to second this plea.