The architect who eventually drew the library’s plans (fortunately for me) lives in the village. She insisted that traditional methods be used to clean the wall and rebuild the space, and she contracted masons knowledgable in the handling of the local stone, tuffeau, which is soft as sandstone and the colour of butter. It was an extraordinary sight to see these men work row by row, placing stone next to stone with the ability of skilled typographers in an old-fashioned printing shop. The image came to mind because in local parlance the large stones are known as upper case (majuscules) and the small ones as lower case (minuscules), and during the building of the library it seemed utterly appropriate that these inheritors of the bricklayers of Babel should mix stones and letters in their labours. `Passe-moi une majuscule!” they would call to one another, while my books waited silently in their boxes for the day of resurrection.
The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel