‘Ex Libris’ at Cambridge University Library by night

Completely off-topic! One day a little while back when I was feeling unsually despondent, I also happened across what appears to be a completely false report that Cambridge University Library is seeking commercial sponsorship, now removed from the Guardian‘s website. This reminded me of something I’d been meaning to do for ages, ever since the UL’s car-park re-emerged from the mysterious building works that had shrouded it for several months. When it had re-emerged, it had done so with a new cycle lane across the front of the building, and a pillar system keeping the cars back from it. The pillars are really cool.

Ex Libris, by Harry Gray

It wasn’t until I read a story in the local newspaper that I realised this was not just a bright idea from inside the UL, but a ‘new public artwork’. There are fourteen of the pillars and the central four, which bear the title (“Ex Libris”), rotate, so that you can line them all up and read it.

One of the central pillars of Harry Gray's Ex Libris

One of the central pillars of Harry Gray's Ex Libris

Well, possibly a bit pretentious but still rather handsome, I thought, and resolved to photograph it for the library fans reading. Unfortunately, I then let the summer slip away—I just don’t normally take a camera to the library, what can I say—meaning that by the time I got round to this as described above, I was no longer in a position to get to the library in daylight. Well, I don’t think this has necessarily spoiled anything…






I’m not really any kind of photographer but I like to have a go now and then.

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6 responses to “‘Ex Libris’ at Cambridge University Library by night

  1. What a great artwork! I love it for two reasons – first, the concept of the stacks of books is cool and second, I love anything that makes life better for cyclists and reduces our need to duel with death. Oops, I mean cars.

  2. Lovely. I bet the UL looks grand in the snow today and Cambridge in general really. I don’t know whether it is the quality of light in the fens, but Cambridge always looks fantastic in the snow, especially early morning.

    Sorry, that was a bit random – I’m feeling nostalgic today.

    • Well, we had two inches snow in four hours last night, and there has been no attempt made to clear the roads at all this morning, so everything is very quiet, but where the cars and lorries have tried anyway of course it’s all churned grey-black slush. Plenty of places to escape that though.

  3. Jonathan Grove

    Whatever the Guardian has to say on the subject, the University of Cambridge does still seem to think that this ‘unnamed’ (we now find) library ‘represents a unique opportunity to recognise an exceptional benefaction in perpetuity’–see http://www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/campaign/guide/collections/library/. Perhaps the recent beautification of the eastern approaches is supposed to make the poor unnamed old place look a little loved, and help win it some admiring glances from the right sort of squillionaire. Maybe we should be getting ready for a spruced-up Roman Abramovich Library after all…

    • Oh dear. I was so pleased when I didn’t find any reference to it on the UL’s pages, I never thought of looking at the Dev. Office. Well, I suppose that it’s better that I know…

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