Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Literary Ladies' Room

I told you about the Lit Phil Library months ago and promised to tell more later. Sorry to have left it so long.

I don’t have pictures of all my favourite bits, so will have describe them: Towards the back of the main room there is a large oval table where people are encouraged to bring their lunch; one can eavesdrop on quite learned and heated debates amongst the retired professor-ly looking types.

A square of bookcases encloses a small table and chairs, a perfect little corner for children, though I rarely see any there; I have to admit that the children’s books are fairly intriguing as well.

There is a window through to a kitchen area at which one can purchase a cup of tea (black or herbal) or coffee for 70 or 80 p. Along with the drink comes a choice of biscuits (AKA cookies). I usually chose the ginger snaps, as they were the lowest in fat.

After 2pm, the kitchen is shut. Then there are large thermos flasks of coffee, water, cold and hot milk; also a bowl of instant coffee, sugar, sweetener tablets and a selection of tea bags, not to mention the Tupperware boxes of cookies (with a note asking you to re-seal the box). It’s all on an honour system where one pays at the front desk for their drink. Along with the marvelous architecture, the wonderful books and the amazing furniture, I've always fond that honour system a lovely feature of the library.

There is a grouping of enveloping leather chairs around a coffee table where I often sat drinking my coffee and read Country Living, Vogue or Good Housekeeping. This was quite near the section where cooking, gardening, homemaking, crafts and needlework books could be found as well.

However, my very favourite place to read magazines was in the Ladies’ Room. Not the actual toilets, of course, but an ante-room to the toilet with comfy couches and chairs, tables and lamps, just perfect for a quiet read.

Mind, the toilets themselves are fairly interesting. One goes through a door into a small entry to doors on either side, which each open into an area with hand washing facilities (marble sinks, a cloth towel, an electric hand dryer and marvelous door furniture), and then the actual toilet in another room beyond that. It doesn’t do to leave going to the loo too late, given the obstacles to be overcome.

There were a couple of occasions when working on technical projects I found it easier to left my shared office a couple of blocks away, take my laptop to the library and sit at the table in the ladies room. Beyond the quiet, I found the whole atmosphere to be soothing.

(Yes, I know it's daft, but I get quite enthusiastic about door furniture.)

So now you know all the secret stuff about the LitPhil – well everything a non-member gets to know.

1 comment:

Pauline Wiles said...

That is quite remarkable door furniture - imagine what Restoration Hardware would charge for a set like that!
Sounds like a wonderful library and I can absolutely picture the tupperware tub of biscuits complete with note :)