Ah! There you are. Hello, and welcome to the Robert Graves Memorial Reading Room here in The Library of the Green Man. My name is Iain McKenzie, Head Librarian here, and I hope you'll love this room as much as I do. Come in further, please! Just watch that the leather curtain doesn't catch your sleeve, now...
We last refurbished the Reading Room about ten years ago (watch your step, this lovely old Persian rug tends to catch the feet on the edges; I'm always worried someone's going to break their neck on it as people so often have their noses in books), as every generation or so the paneling needs a thorough cleaning and polishing, the wallpaper needs freshening up, furniture needs loving care, and the fireplace gets heavy use all winter long. But most everything is as it's been since The Library was started; my predecessor believed that the Reading Room in its present form dates to about when the Mabinogion was first written down, but you know how time is in a library, and most especially in this Library, so who knows?
The Brother Rabbit border up there is from Mr. William Morris's lovely collections, as is the floral wallpaper underneath it, and according to his daughter and fellow craftsperson, May Morris, it was inspired by the Uncle Remus stories her father read to them at the family home in Hammersmith, Kelmscott House. The windows were designed for us by a young American architect by the name of Frank Lloyd Wright, perhaps you've heard of him? And these lace curtains were made for us by some young ladies who were students of Mr. Ruskin.
Over the fireplace are my favorite pieces of art in the extensive collection here in the Green Man building -- these are studies in pencil by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones for a tapestry. I'm not sure how they came to be here, but that's in the nature of an old library, don't you think?
To further the Arts & Crafts nature of the room, we of course chose Mr. Gustav Stickley's furniture -- do please sit down here by the fire. These oak and leather chairs are Stickley originals and are over a century old now. Elegant and comfortable, aren't they? You can easily see why Green Man staffers fight over them as the best spot for reading for hours on end.
In fact, you're welcome to turn on that light there next to your chair -- it gets dark so early during the winter, doesn't it? -- and browse through what we have to offer you this week in the Reading Room. Plenty here for you to look at. But let me know if you need any help in the shelves -- I shouldn't go too deep into the stacks without the help of a librarian; all too easy to get lost, you know! The Reading Room is bigger than it looks, and gets larger as you look further and deeper in.,