Libraria: The Evolution of Literary Spaces

Elaine Chan-Dow


Through her large-scale photographs of the sweeping interiors of historic libraries from across North America, Toronto-based artist Elaine Chan-Dow considers the evolution of these insti- tutions. The term “library” derives from the Latin word libraria, meaning bookshop. Historically, the library stemmed from the idea of a “reading room” formed by a collective of indi- viduals that paid dues to keep the coll- ection available. During the Industrial Revolution in North America in the early 1900s, a major shift occurred with