‘The Stories of the Library Lost in Time’
Once, long ago and far in the future, there was a Library hidden in time. It was concealed while the savage world started to burn and as the savage people started to burn books.
Every book that had ever been written was in the library. And every book that might have been written. And every book that had been started but never finished. The Mystery of Edwin Drood was at last solved here, the events of Sanditon allowed to unfold and K finally granted the release of death outside The Castle. You could find Emily Bronte’s even bleaker sequel to Wuthering Heights just beneath a whole shelf of romantic melodrama by Mussolini.
That story you thought of writing but never did – that was there as well.
Some parts of the Library were dangerous to enter. Because the Library contained the works of every possible universe, there was no universe in which you might not find yourself. Especially in the reference section.
Through the centre of the Library ran the Impossible Tower that joined every reality, every dream, every choice. No-one knew what lay at the top or the bottom of the Tower. Some said it had neither. Others claimed to have scaled it but to have forgotten what they saw.
People were drawn to the Library for many reasons. To learn, to remember, to foresee, to regret or to celebrate. Some had arranged to meet others there though they rarely seemed to find each other. Few who entered the Library ever returned and new arrivals often found the place empty. There was always a hot drink waiting.
While the world and its people and their books burned in the madness outside, the Library remained hidden away, its entrances glimpsed only by a very few. That which was lost was not truly lost.
Text and photos by Damian Mark Whittle
Photos taken in and around Leeds Central Library