Life @ U of T

The Most Magical Place on Campus: Visiting the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library

There are few things that go together better than Robarts and Buzzfeed. We’ve all had that moment where your twenty minute coffee break turns into an hour of reading listicles and finding out which celebrity dog you are. Things got a little meta last week when I found myself staring at photo of Robarts, from inside Robarts, while reading 19 Totally Magical Libraries To Visit Before You Die. #1 on the list? The Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, which is located on the north side of Robarts.

photo of the rare books library in a buzzfeed article
credit: buzzfeed & flickr user hyfen

I’ve been meaning to check out the Rare Books Library since I first came to U of T, but for some reason have put it off for almost two years. I took that article as a sign that it was the time, and decided to turn my unproductive quiz filled study break into a mini adventure.

row of old leather bound books

I fell in love with the library at first sight. I felt like I had found a hidden oasis in the midst of Robart’s brutalist architecture. And I couldn’t even wrap my head around the thousands of books lining the walls in each direction.

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If you’re looking for a beautiful view of the library, try taking the elevator up to 4M, there’s a glass observation room there.

bust of shakespeare

While at the library, I checked out ‘So long lives this’: A Celebration of Shakespeare’s Life and Works, a collection of printings of Shakespeare’s works from the First Folio of 1623 to contemporary publishings.

The illustrated folios were absolutely beautiful, especially compared to the ebook format I usually read Shakespeare in.

The details on this 1914 printing of A Midsummer's Night Dream were absolutely beautiful.
The details on this 1914 printing of A Midsummer’s Night Dream were so gorgeous!

I wish I had more time to explore every nook and cranny and make a request to view one of the hundreds of first printings, manuscripts, and ridiculously old texts they have there. I definitely plan on taking another visit, and if you would like to do the same you can visit the library Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm on Thursdays.

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