Despite the intolerable cold on the first weekend of 2018, Savanah and I bundled up and left for Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore served as the third location of MACUSA, before its eventual move into the Woolworth Building that we saw in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them". Our destination was the George Peabody Library, located downtown, and housed in the Peabody Institute. Beloved by bibliophiles and architecture nerds, this educational and historic space makes many top libraries of the world lists. We couldn’t apparate to the Hogwarts library, so we visited the next best spot.
It is a non-circulating, research library, which means while anyone is welcome to come in and explore, guests may not “check out” a book to read at home. The library is characterized by its neo-Greco interior, black-and-white checkered floors, shelves filled to bursting with leather-bound books, and five tiers ornamented with cast iron balconies.
The central space, called the “stack room”, is warmly lit by frosted glass ball lamps, and a skylight that stretches across a massive ceiling. Dating from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries, the collection of 300,000 volumes cover general scholarly pursuits of their time. Titles we observed were references on world mythologies, marriage registries, Jewish encyclopedias, and (my personal favorite, for its cover and binding) “Memorials of the Dead in Ireland Volume VI”. We looked for "Hogwarts, A History", but Savanah heard that still has a two week waiting list.
The library was designed by local architect Edmund G. Lind with Peabody’s first provost, Nathaniel H. Morison. Building was completed in 1878 but the library went through necessary restoration and renovation (accio modern heating and air conditioning!) in the early 2000s.
Philanthropist George Peabody commissioned the library and dedicated it to the people of Baltimore City. The ground floor is yours to explore, though we were a little disappointed to find that we weren’t allowed to walk upstairs. Technically, the expansive collection is considered a rare book library, but there is a rare book room for special works tucked away upstairs. The printed selections on the floors above may still be accessed however: if you find what you need in the card catalog, a call slip is made, and a library assistant or staff retrieves it for you. No need to break out the old invisibility cloak, after all.
If you find yourself nearby, the library is open to readers and visitors:
Tuesday -Thursday: 10am-5pm
17 East Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
If you live far and away, you can still explore the library interior by browsing our photos below or with a high-resolution, 360-degree virtual tour here.