Here’s a little secret that you might not be aware of.
The study nook of your fantasies lives on North Terrace. The cathedral-like ceiling is miles more impressive than anything that the Barr Smith Reading Room can offer. The dull orange lights evoke images of Hermione Granger, staying up late, reading by candlelight in the Griffindor common room. The towering walls, three-stories high, are filled with well-thumbed hardbacks cracking at the spines. They even have those rolling library ladders that remind me of a particular scene in Beauty and the Beast (the 1991 version, of course).
While it might not be part of an enchanted castle, there is certainly a special sort of magic in the Mortlock Wing of the State Library. I was first introduced to the Harry Potter Room, as it is affectionately called, in my first year at uni. It was mentioned in an issue of On Dit, and so, of course, I went to check it out and fell pretty much in love.
The library feels part of another time, an era past. It’s easy to lose yourself in there, and it’s one of my absolute favourite places to do so. It feels dorky to admit it, but I will often go there and get so involved in my assignment that hours pass without me noticing. As an added bonus, I always leave with a substantial chunk of my essay completed.
I’m not sure if it’s the quiet that allows me to focus, or whether it’s something else. Perhaps it’s the smell of old books or just the presence of them. Or maybe it’s just being in a beautiful place, which inspires me to write. Outside of the bustle and noise of the city, the library is peaceful and calm. The ornate wooden carvings and elaborate iron balustrades lend a feeling of grandeur, some sort of specialness.
The library was even placed 5th in Huffington Post’s list of the most beautiful libraries in the world! It also placed 19th on Travel and Leisure‘s list of the same name. At the top of that list was the Clementinum in Prague, which is the true library of your fantasies. The Clementinum is right near the top of my bucket list for Places to See Before I Die. It looks like one of the overly decadent rooms in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, too pretty and romantic to be practical and functional. Still, the Mortlock Wing is a pretty good substitute for those who can’t afford to nip over to Prague for their study sessions.
If you’re not yet sold on visiting the Mortlock Wing, let me just leave this little tidbit of info here for you. The Mortlock Wing has been known to hold Harry Potter marathons. Yes, they sell out and yes, I really really want to go. That aside, I do hope that this article helps to make new students aware of Adelaide’s special little gem. Maybe it’s even uncovered one of our city’s greatest treasures to some long-term UofA residents. Whether you want to study, read, write, or just take a nice photo, it’s worth visiting.