Bookshelf of the Week: Library of Parliament Reading Room

Library of Parliament Reading Room. Picture credit: Alejandro Erickson

Last week we had a bit of cafe chic with the Cafe Kafka, Warsaw, so for this week’s Bookshelf of the Week I thought we’d get all prestigious and governmental with this magnificent shot from Alejandro Erickson of the main reading room of the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, Canada.

Apparently modelled after the Reading Room of the British Museum (completed 1857), and inspired by its first Parliamentary Librarian, Alpheus Todd (who wished for something “spacious and lofty”), the Library of Parliament was designed by Canadian architects Thomas Fuller and Chilion Jones.{{1}} It was completed in 1876 and has since served the studying and working needs of Canada’s parliamentarians.

Well, it looks to me as though the architects were spot on the brief with this one, because I don’t think anyone could deny that the interior of this library is anything but ‘spacious and lofty’. I think it has a real feel of the ecclesiastical about it, and putting aside the fact that it is a library used by parliamentarians, it looks as though absolute reverence is being paid both to the books and the act of reading itself – which of course is absolutely how it should it. I also love the white marble statue of Queen Victoria (sculpted by Marshall Wood in 1871), which takes pride of place in the centre of the room; not only paying homage to Canada’s former sovereign, but also adding to the overall feel of grandeur.

So that’s a quick peek of the reading room of the Library of Parliament. I hope you find it as stunning as I do, but if you think the interior of the library is something else, then wait until you see the exterior folks. How’s that for a stunning example of High Victorian Gothic architecture? I love it!

My thanks again to Alejandro Erickson for the original photo, and for sharing it so generously.

Remember, if you have a bookshelf shot that you think is worthy of featuring as Bookshelf of the Week (even one of your own bookshelves which is actually preferable), then just drop me an email at

[[1]]Thomas Fuller was actually born in England but emigrated to Canada in 1857.[[1]]

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I agree that this library appears to revere the books that it houses. Beautiful. And that exterior is just amazing.

  2. I love it! Ooohhh i could live here