One Literary Tradition Ends, Others Endure

A stored part of London's intellectual life came to an end in October with the closing of the British Library's Round Reading Room. The room, which opened 140 years ago, is where Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, and Thomas Hardy studied and Karl Marx researched and wrote "Das Kapital." The closure of what novelist Malcolm Bradbury called "the most literary and scholarly spot in the world" is part of a move to a modern new home for the library.

Meanwhile, the great domed Reading Room of the United States Library of Congress observed its 100th anniversary Nov. 1, a week after the closing of its prototype - the British Library's Round Reading Room. Though the library's Jefferson Building now looks old-fashioned to some visitors, critics of the time considered it a triumph of architecture.

And on Nov. 3, the Boston Public Library reopened its Bates Hall Reading Room in the Charles Follen McKim-designed building, which dates to 1895. The barrel-vaulted Reading Room had been closed for 14 months as part of a 10-year, $50-million restoration project.

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