Students, school’s back from summer, and the time has come to sit inc lassrooms across the country and learn things that will matter in your life and so much that will be totally irrelevant. It’s not easy being a student today. The pressure is on to succeed.

You need some relief — try Learning-For-The-Sake-Of-It which can discovered and nurtured by…books!

I was a rebellious student, called up in assembly almost every week for some misdemeanour, lots of time on the Headmistress’s office for what must have been, in retrospect, annoying behaviour. What saved me from total academic failure and overwhelming ennui, was my love of libraries and all they encompass. The hushed voices and rows upon rows of index cards to be searched methodically for specific titles or subjects, or pulled randomly when something that looked more interesting was stumbled upon. My mind was opening up without my ever understanding what was happening.

Time slows down in libraries in a good way. Try it and you will see what I mean.

Google works well, of course, with loads of instant information. But it seems that every minute a pop-up appears in the bottom corner of my screen telling me about the incoming emails landing in my inbox. It’s constant, information-search-interruptus.

Back in the ’80s The Breakfast Club, a movie of teenage angst, was set in a high school and filmed entirely in a library. Computers weren’t an option then and trust me, it was a cool movie. Fast forward 20 years to,Sex and The City and Carrie Bradshaw’s love of libraries even as she tapped at her computer keyboard. And, where was her dream wedding to Mr.Big? The New York Public Library.

I predict that you students who are burning out from the pressure to fix upon a career choice as early as possible and tailor your studies accordingly,will find relief for a few hours here and there in a great library. And I also think it might produce fewer reluctant lawyers and engineers and a few more dreamers, which we need, as you discover answers to questions you didn’t even knew you wanted to ask. Bask in the glory of those amazing buildings, public spaces that are architectural gems in themselves built just for the purpose of housing lofty ideas and endless words painstakingly put on paper from the minds of men and women from all parts of our universe for hundreds of years, and still doing it today.

Who knows how long these stunning old buildings will survive the wrecking ball or be turned into condos. Enjoy them while you can.

Here are my TOP 10 of the worlds most beautifully designed libraries:

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