Bookish Tourist: Libraries of Iceland

3 words: excited, exploratory, delighted

As I write this, I’m suffering severe skyr withdrawal. You can get the stuff here in the States, but it just ain’t the same. The skyr in Iceland is light and sweet, and it makes you feel like you’re eating whipped cream for breakfast!
So… Iceland: best travel destination ever?
YES
Prepare yourselves for some Icelandic bookish posts — libraries (that’s today’s topic), bookstores, and books about Iceland. And if the spirit moves me, maybe some photos of the scenery, since that’s the actual reason we went there. And man! it did not disappoint.
OK. Here’s a gratuitous waterfall photo…
 
Now… Books.
During our visit, the Dear Man and I hit three libraries. (I know. Dorky.)
The first was the most delightful, because it was a public library and it was slightly quirky, and the librarian and library assistant were super friendly. Here’s the story…
While we were in Stykkisholmur, we swung by the public library…

…and were greeted by a sign that instructed us to either remove our shoes or don booties.
Apparently the former librarian made this a rule, and they’ve stuck with it. And admittedly, they have some gorgeous hardwood floors in their library, so you really can’t blame them for keeping the place nice.
So we put on the booties and walked in. 
Since the place is small and friendly, we were welcomed right away, and I confessed I was a librarian visiting from the U.S. (I often feel shy about doing this.) 
And then it was like old home week, and the librarian and the library assistant told us all about the library and answered our questions, and it was really lovely.
They have a great English language section…

…and a beautiful layout.
For a town of 1100 people, it was very well done.
We also visited the Reykjavik City Library. 

It’s in a great downtown location, in a multi-floor building that’s very pleasant. Again: large English language section! And I was intrigued by their use of Dewey Decimal Classification, even for fiction. 

The chief difference that struck me was that their libraries aren’t big into providing computer access. Maybe because Iceland has an impressively high percentage of households with Internet connectivity?
Anyway… we fit in one more library visit shortly before hopping on the shuttle to the airport. We swung by the National and University Library of Iceland and walked through. 

There were lots of students studying, and lots of signs we could not read, so often we didn’t know precisely what we were looking at. (Though: a sighting of the National Union Catalog cued me that we were looking at the Reference collection at one point.)
Iceland’s known as a bookish society (more on that in the next post), so it seemed fitting that we’d choose to library it up during our visit. At least this was our excuse. 
So, my fellow book nerds… Ever visit libraries while on vacation?

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  1. It looks like you had really nice trip. I have visited a few famous libraries in my travels. I think bookish locations are great.

    You make the skyr sound so good. I have had what is available in the United States. I really want the good stuff now!