Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Riga Central Library

It took me two attempts to find the English-language novels. A slightly musty-smelling, starkly-lit room opposite the lending desk mostly full of stuff, I suppose, the British Council left behind when they pulled out of the Baltics. There are thousands of paperbacks, dog-eared and showing various signs of age, ranging from Thomas Mann to Murakami, Plato to Catherine Cookson. Add in the rest of the books at work and I'll have more than enough reading material to last me through to May.
We might not always have it so good, though. With the worsening economic crisis plans for a new National Library have had to be shelved (sorry, bad pun) and existing collections face the same funding problems as those in Britain and elsewhere. Books will deteriorate, replacements will not be found. It's a crying shame - a good library's worth a year of school, at least.

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