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“the hope of getting some information” [SILV] 

Libraries are fascinating places. And while the modern library is a wonder of digital access and interconnectedness like never before, libraries have their origins in ancient history. 

The Library of Alexandria was the center of the ancient world, containing scrolls and documents of knowledge accumulated and created up until that time. We often wonder how the world might have been different had the Library of Alexandria survived.

By the mid-1800s, Victorian lending libraries had come into existence, giving the populace an opportunity to expand their knowledge with access to books they might not otherwise have in their households.

Throughout the Sherlock Holmes stories, we catch glimpses of private libraries that appear in country houses, university libraries, and other references to books in collections.

Here's a little quiz: see if you can identify which Sherlock Holmes story is associated with these quotes about libraries.  Answers are at the bottom of the page.
  1. “...a man should keep his little brain-attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.” 
  2. “I regret that I have kept you waiting,” said I, sitting down in my library-chair. 
  3. “There was excellent wild-duck shooting in the fens, remarkably good fishing, a small but select library, taken over, as I understood, from a former occupant, and a tolerable cook, so that he would be a fastidious man who could not put in a pleasant month there.” 
  4. “ ‘Brunton, the butler, was in the library. He was sitting, fully dressed, in an easy-chair, with a slip of paper which looked like a map upon his knee, and his forehead sunk forward upon his hand in deep thought.”
  5. “The thieves ransacked the library and got very little for their pains. The whole place was turned upside down, drawers burst open, and presses ransacked, with the result that an odd volume of Pope’s Homer, two plated candlesticks, an ivory letter-weight, a small oak barometer, and a ball of twine are all that have vanished.” 
  6. “We were residing at the time in furnished lodgings close to a library where Sherlock Holmes was pursuing some laborious researches in early English charters.” 
  7. “Mortimer had stayed to dinner, and he and the baronet played écarté afterwards. The butler brought me my coffee into the library, and I took the chance to ask him a few questions.”
  8. “Finally I drove to the London Library in St. James’s Square, put the matter to my friend Lomax, the sublibrarian, and departed to my rooms with a goodly volume under my arm.”

Now let's hit the books at Baker Street Elementary...

Quiz answers

  1. "The Five Orange Pips" 
  2. "The Engineer's Thumb"
  3. "The Gloria Scott"
  4. "The Musgrave Ritual"
  5. "The Reigate Squires"
  6. "The Three Students"
  7. The Hound of the Baskervilles
  8. "The Illustrious Client"

Baker Street Elementary follows the original adventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, as they and their friends work through the issues of elementary school in Victorian London. An archive of all previous episodes can be viewed at www.bakerstreetelementary.org.