It’s not the norm that I do a blog post simply about the venue of a literary event, but I’ll do that today. Keep meaning to do one about my own library, but seeing as I seem to travel to far-flung libraries before the one closer to home, I will stick to what I’ve seen on my travels.
Needless to say I’d never heard of the Mitchell until a few weeks ago. I started researching where on earth I could find an event on Sara Paretsky’s British tour that would suit me. Clicked on the Glasgow event and found that the venue had nothing on, which wasn’t quite the expected result. Went back to Hodder’s Kerry who sorted me out. Or the Mitchell, perhaps.
And had I realised Sara was there as part of the Aye Write! festival, I’d have sorted myself out sooner. Once I mentioned it to the Resident IT Consultant I was informed that it was the place in Scotland if you needed somewhere good. Not that the man’s ever been, you understand, but his Scottish upbringing taught him that much.
The Mitchell is nice, and I’m not used to uniformed doormen when entering a library. This one was very polite, even when I said something eloquent and well mannered like ‘Café? Where?’ and showed me the way.
I only needed the café because I was due to meet Julie Bertagna there. Far be it for me to run to a café first thing when I go somewhere… Beautiful corridor with marble in every possible place and maybe even in the impossible places. Chequered black and white floor. Classy.
Then on to the new building behind the old domed one, with masses of space and books and people. Down to the café, which is nice and big and next to a very big number of computers. Lots of users in both areas. Plenty of seating. Warm.
OK, so then the fire alarm went and out onto the street we all went. But these things happen. I did wonder what they would do about all those coffees going cold, but on re-entry it was new coffees for everyone. I almost felt like asking for one, too. As it happens, Julie bought me my tea. And a piece of cake.
We debated where Sara’s event would take place. My money was on the large room near the doorman, and Julie thought it was the theatre by the café. Obviously I was right, but it goes to show how big the place is. You can have a debate like that.
And then as we sat in the large old room we wondered what it had been like in the olden days. As if by magic, Julie found the answer on another blog the following night, so I can show you.
All in all, very nice. I might try Aye Write! some other year, too. Or just come for tea.
(With thanks to Steve Feasey for finding the photos first.)