For a certain class of bibliophilic nerd, there’s little that’s more relaxing that the hushed bustle of a giant room full of books. And few rooms are as big and book-filled as the New York Public Library’s Rose Main Reading Room, which measures 78 by 297 feet, and which contains shelf space for 52,000 tomes.
Unfortunately, the Rose Room has been closed for the last two years, after one of its elaborate ceiling decorations fell to the floor far below. But the nice thing about the library being forced to close the room for renovations and remove all the books from its shelves, is that eventually it’d get to put them back up. That’s exactly what library workers have been doing over the past several weeks, as the Rose Room prepared to re-open, and someone set up a time lapse camera to capture the whole thing.
There’s something deeply soothing about watching the shelves fill up one by one, like a train of dominoes falling down in reverse. We can only imagine the filing, the record keeping, the alphabetizing—oh god, the alphabetizing—that must have gone into the project. It’s enough to make Melvil Dewey sigh contentedly in his meticulously indexed grave.