One of the things I tend to do when on Walkabout is seek out pleasant public spaces in which to work. Sometimes institutions to which I might have some connection might give me access to a guest office, or something similar, but often I go “off the grid”, where the grid here refers to the network of academic connections and arrangements that produces such (generous and vital) courtesies. So every city I spend time in, I try to work build a personal network of hideouts. Sometimes, these are just favourite cafes of one sort or another (you’ve maybe seen posts on those), but at times it can also be libraries or other spaces at one sort of institution or another. Some of them are quite splendid, or simply pleasant or convenient. Among the examples for me are the Santa Monica public library, the (downtown) Los Angeles public library (yes, even close to home I like to get away from my standard offices), the Butler Library at Columbia University in New York, the New York Public Library (where I wrote bits of the book D-Branes), or the British Library in London, the Bodleian in Oxford, and so on and so forth. (I should mention that for some of those, in order to get access to the reading rooms, you might have to registered as a user, and of course, student status or an academic position somewhere is one form of access, so they are a bit closer to the grid than other places where you can just walk in and be entirely anonymous.) Pictured above is another such space, a new find for me, that has turned out to be quite splendid (as well as in an interesting architectural setting). I’m here for a some days, and it has been an excellent quiet refuge from the rain and the bustle of the city outside.

More about where it is, later*…


*You’re welcome to make guesses amongst yourselves. Those who perhaps have inside knowledge should not cheat! :)

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