Writing: The Library: 4-51 Alexandria Avenue

by Beauchamp Art

4-51 Alexandria Avenue, one of the great libraries of the Metropolis, occupying a great deal of the street. With only a few offices either side, which mostly dealt with legal matters attaining to contents of the library, publishing, distribution and post-production, interconnecting to a few of the lower floors within the colossal structure, so one could walk between the historical archives in the library to the historical amendments department of the adjacent offices, without stepping outside either structure.

It was said that the digitisation department of the library, converting and copying texts into a more malleable format then that of pen and parchment, was housed on the lowest subterranean levels, so the heat produced by the sheer volume of machinery required for the task could be recycled and pumped up and channelled around the higher floors, requiring no additional internal environmental control.

Though this is perhaps an exaggeration, as the climate amongst the computers and other contraptions was only moderately warmer than any other section, though the weight of the machines may have impacted upon their architectural decision, it is more likely an aesthetic consideration, so as the upper floors, where hard copies of every book, article and other minor documents could be read in daylight, where it is best to examine the written hand and the printed media, where as the numerous screens and various blinking lights would provide plentiful illumination for the archivists, perpetually pale as they are, more than content in the soft blue light of their interfaces, free from the distraction of the passing days that would punctuate their work too severely as to be cruel. All this design was intent for both the benefit of those accessing the archives, though few but a handful of quaint officials and nostalgic officers did so, but also to make the environment of labour most appealing to those whom labour there, much as they had been bred to be most content in such circumstances.

The library suited the librarians, the librarians suited the library, and navigating the vast assortment of tomes, texts and manuscripts was made the most efficient as possible, as were all components within the Castra. All was fit for purpose, and so man’s purpose was fit for him. All machines, men and mega structures were meticulously organised. There are no dead ends on the straight, interlocking roads of Metropolitan life. No accidents occurred in the constant flow of matter, yet a distant perspective could suggest otherwise. Such far off and uniformed views may suspect such an existence as chaos, but so far from the truth was this. Like every book resting on its shelf, this was a civilisation of total order, exacting control exerted of every man, every mind, every molecule. Carefully calculated canals which seem like the free flow of a river burst its banks. Not a drop out of place. But from within, one seems to move under one’s own gate, but is swept along by the vast torrent; an idle conversation part of a much greater script, all calculated, all catalogued, all content.

Every man seeing himself free, well provided for, both in resources and employment, has no reason to be discontent. Even if such a stringent system was explained to him, he would see no flaw in the design. Why should he wish to fall to the wayside, be lost and mis labelled, want for that which bring him only despair? Why to him, such thoughts are totally illogical, laughable, and considers himself lucky to have his position clearly marked.

All truth is held in the library. All histories. All tales and talk. All philosophy and knowledge. And every individual is free, from their perspective, to gorge themselves on such riches, but would rarely, if ever, understand one’s reasoning for wishing to do so, unless absolutely necessary (such as when addressing old scientific treatises or ancient dialogue to better inform a contemporary study, as the academic caste were often inclined, though not compelled, to do so).

If a man becomes weak of the body, (though not common, even the best preserved book may need rebinding once it has been thumbed over to vigorously by time) he will not consult the library to find a greater knowledge on what may irk him, but would foremost find a physician, whose duty and his specialty is to help hindrances of health, bring the body back to form, and lay the mind at rest more so than simply acquiring information would do so, as he is capable of applying knowledge practically, whereas the layman, even inundated with a thousand years of medical texts, would be unable to do so. This it is his duty, as a citizen and part of the machinery of his civilisation to act most prudently and not squander his efforts on needless knowledge.

So the grand library stands, so often still as a tomb, yet brimming with potential, life and energy, of so little interest to those that passes beneath its immense shadow and know it’s tremendous gravity.