Stratford-upon-Avon, The Shakespeare Library
There is something to say about a library whose main focus and collection revolves around one of the greatest writers in history. The opportunity to visit this library and receive a behind the scenes tour was amazing. Shakespeare has never come alive to me in the way it did during this visit. Although I have read and studied his work extensively, I have never had the chance to see and touch first hand resources from his time. The picture above shows the first poster, printed in 16--, to advertise for his first show.
This particular library contains a reading room open to the public, and a basement full of stacks with some very spectacular books. It is a reference only library but the reading room and library services are free. To access the rare books, you need an actual academic reason since the items are delicate. The collection contains local items from the 12th century, documents, maps, books, pamphlets videos, photos and more. It contains the only surviving letter written to Shakespeare. This collection grows almost every day, as they receive donations and items.
Not only did I get to visit this library, but was able to see the play As You Like It, which was a first for me. I laughed, I literally cried-mostly from joy and wonder, and did not want it to end.
Before the play, I had the opportunity to walk around this beautiful town. The beauty of the River Avon truly struck me, as well as the incredible church where Shakespeare is buried.