“Take us up!” the Lifeshaper orders Audacity, her face stiff with fear. We rise above the Halo’s atmosphere, to see everything more clearly. Mantle’s Approach sweeps low over the Halo compound. The ship’s silhouette has changed. Something protrudes from its front.
A great star forms above the compound - the Composer’s targeting beams. I can do nothing to stop it!
At the Lifeshaper’s command, Audacity shoots forward. She hopes to insert herself into the path of the Composer, to stop her husband from harming her specimens. But the Mantle’s Approach makes the slightest, deftest of manoeuvres, throws out a torsion field, and Audacity is brushed aside like a gnat. [Halo: Silentium]
Hello, all my lovely followers! Long time no see! Sorry for the prolonged lack of original posts, but I’ve been crazy busy at my new job as Library Technician at Smithsonian Libraries (@smithsonianlibraries)! I’m working primarily at the Cullman Library in the Natural History Museum, which houses the Smithsonian’s special collections relating to natural history, although I’ve also spent some time at the Dibner Library, which is home to special collections relating to the physical sciences.
Although I’ve only been there for two months, I’ve had the opportunity to do and see some amazing things! From a shelving unit for miniature books to a well-loved 13th century Armenian manuscript (MSS 1675B), the Libraries are truly full of wonders great and small. One of my favorites is the volvelle, or rotating calculator, found in a 16th century alchemical manuscript (MSS 867B)– I just love it when books are interactive! Expect more from that one in the future.
many people, I saw the new Doctor Strange movie in theaters this
weekend. I expected a fun, visually exciting film (which I got); but I
wasn’t expecting a lot of library screen time, so needless to say, I was
pleasantly surprised! Without spoiling anything, the library is the
scene of some important plot developments, and features some very
interesting set pieces, including books chained to a honeycomb-like
sliding rack alongside the more traditional bookshelves.
the sliding rack may not have been recognizable to librarians of old,
the practice of chaining books certainly was. From the Middle Ages to
the late 17th century, books were expensive and precious objects that
weren’t allowed to be removed from the library willy-nilly. However, due
to both their value as objects and as containers of knowledge, books
were under a very real threat of being borrowed for reference and never
returned. Initially, books were kept in large locking chests for
security, but as libraries began to expand, the chests no longer
provided enough room for storage and the books had to be moved onto open
shelves. And so, much like dogs kept on a leash to prevent them from
running off, the books were chained to the shelves.
It is unclear exactly when and where the first books were chained, but the practice caught on all over Europe.The chains were linked to a metal rod that ran the length of the shelf, which meant that in order to reference the books, readers were literally “chained” to the spot! To remedy this, desk areas were often placed in front of the chained shelves, such as these in the chained library of Hereford Cathedral.
There are some lovely examples of chained libraries that survive today, such as that of Hereford and a smaller one in Chetham’s Library in Manchester. If you get a chance, pay one a visit! It’s amazing to see a snapshot of what a medieval reader would’ve been faced with when entering a library. However, if you can’t make it to Europe, at least you can get a peek of the concept and feeling in Doctor Strange!
Librarians are hideous creatures of unimaginable power. And even if you could imagine their power, it would be illegal. It is absolutely illegal to even try to picture what such a being would be like. So just watch out for librarians, okay?