In Library: An Unquiet History, by Matthew Battles tells the story of Louvain, in Belgium. There was a university library, built in 1730, with a wonderful collection of ancient manuscripts, some of them 500 years old. For centuries, the library held a wealth of rare and beautiful texts, a treasure of knowledge.
It was completely destroyed by the Germans in World War 1.
After the war, the library was rebuilt, and stocked with manuscripts donated by other libraries, other countries. Again, it held a vast store of the rare and the beautiful, the ancient knowledge and new information.
It was completely destroyed by the Germans in World War 2.
Now, there is some noteworthy additional information regarding this horror. Some books were donated to restock Belgian library shelves.....and some of them were confiscated from the libraries of defeated Germany. And although the planned jingoist inscription (Destroyed by German fury, rebuilt by American generosity) was never chiseled into the stone of the new building, the plan was commonly known.
It really seems like the type of information we should remember, so it became the subject of a tablet.
I gathered images of the destroyed library and the bombed town
and sorted through, chose the ones that worked best
made them into line drawings and combined them
fine-tuned it with added windows, flooded the front with books, and prepared to add the text.
I decided to add the Belgian (maybe French?) spelling, Leuven, and it was ready to print:
I knew I wanted the explanation over the images of the books, and in my next blog, you'll see how that worked out.