It was a bit like a religious experience. Tall ceilings, imposing windows, rows of books, wooden tables with green lamps that loomed like ancient scholars bent over their ancient work. And silence, silence, everywhere silence. It was then that I realized that libraries are not just about the books. Yes, they are about the books, about voices from around the world that invite you into to slip between their covers, voices from the places one has not heard about, from people one could not have imagined. But it was the silence - being away from voices of one’s family, friends, inner voices of home-bound concerns, things to do, being away from voices that fills one’s mind so persistently and steadily that one mistakes them for one’s own – it was the silence that shocked me into listening, very hard, for faint whispers of a voice of my own.
I still love libraries and enter them, be they small or large, like a pilgrim that I am, forever grateful for their impregnable, mysterious, silence.