Sunday, 1 March 2015

World Book Day: Dewey need library benches?

In some places libraries are under attack. Books themselves are under threat, and as for the Dewey Decimal System, well . . .  some people are saying Dewey need it?

It's World Book Day on March 5th so I've asked some of my friends and neighbours to help me celebrate libraries, book benches, and the wonders of the Dewey Decimal System.

His Excellency, one of my husbands: Last time you did World Book Day it was a mess from cover to cover. 

Yes. This time let's hope we're all on the same page.

My imaginary friend Miggy: You're going to need some energy for this.

We'll start with libraries, which are much under threat these days. Some of them are just boxes of books.

my photo, Ploermel, France

Or even books without the box. Here's all that's left of Fribble and Drizzly's public library:

At least my favourite book is still there.

Miggy: The library is run by volunteers now. They mean well, but some of them are rather inexperienced.  

Tamsin, a very sweet local girl who works in the Not Quite Good Enough Pharmacy: Ohhhh, this baby is soooo cute!

Cute is all very well, Tamsin, but today I'd like to keep the focus on libraries.

Eddie, my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate: This is all very commendable but I don't see any mention of benches here. 

There will be plenty of benches, Eddie, I assure you.

Eddie: Just making sure. It's a jungle out there.

The Jungle Book. Very clever, Eddie. 

Eddie: Of course. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

A picture of you. I suppose it's inevitable. 

But now I'd like to move on to the Dewey Decimal System.  

Miggy: Dewey have to?

Yes. I need a system for cataloging benches.

I've been hunting for a long time.

April, age six: We're not going on a Bear Hunt are we?

May, age six: 'Cause if we are, I'd start at Paddington Station.

June, age six: Here's a panda bear but that's not my bench. 

April, May and June:  Here's a picture of us with baby Isambard and Squeezy, our pet lemon. 

Could we get back to the Dewey Decimal System now please. Nothing to do with bears, nothing to do with jungles. 

His Excellency: I've been looking for a book about endangered species; they're very hard to find.

April: I'd like a library book about turtles.

Mungo, my imaginary husband: But using lemons as an example, how would the Dewey Decimal system work? 

The Dewey number is 641 for food and drink and you can narrow it down precisely to lemons at 641.64334.

April: But what if a lemon is a pet?

Well, normally pets are animals, which is Science, which is in the 590’s.

May: Squeezy's not an animal though. He's citrus.

Most pets are domesticated animals, so they end up in Applied Science in the 630’s range, between gardening and cookbooks. 

June: We wouldn't cook Squeezy, he's our pet.  

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly: This is a topnotch system for finding a gin and tonic bench, Seashell. I prefer lime with my gin though, it's traditional. 

The number for lime is 641.64337.

Splendid. I'll get my chap to come round with the cocktails straightaway.

Meredith, my Cat Editor from animal editors dot com: This is ludicrous. Why do you need a catalog system for benches?

Because there are millions of benches out there, possibly even billions. Who can possibly find them without some sensible system?

Dogs have no problem at their library.

Meredith: Just look for Cat Benches.

April: Or Gruffalo Benches.

Miggy: Or Travel Benches.

Call me bench-blind but I don't see a bench in this photo, Migs.

Miggy: There doesn't always have to be a bench. Anyway, this is a blog about libraries and books isn't it?

I'm not sure what it's about. I've kind of lost the plot.

His Excellency: What with the bears and the lemons and the meerkats, you've fallen into a black hole.

Eddie: I suggest a holiday. Why don't you leave me in charge for 80 days and go around the world?

I'm certainly not doing that, Eddie. My blog would be unrecognisable.

Eddie: That could only be a good thing.

Meredith: I'd like a few days in London. Lion Tours does an excellent tour around the sights of the capital.  

I've said it before and I'll say it again: what part of BOOKS don't you people understand?

Tamsin: I know what a book is but I don't understand this Fooey thing.

Mungo: So with this Dewey Decimal system every book has a number, right? 


Mungo: So let's say I'm interested in a book about probability: would that be with the maths books? 

Miggy: I'd say the chances are 50/50.

His Excellency: As a scholar I find that the Dewey Decimal System works well. For example, in my own field, Pure Science is number 500.

Since when are you a scientist, HE? I seem to remember that your school chemistry experiments ended in a Big Bang.

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly: I say, Seashell, it's just not cricket to bring up one's school failures.

Lord Brassica: I couldn't get the hang of Games at schools. Noughts and Crosses had me stumped.

Mungo: I'm doing some building work so I'm popping down to the bookstore. Will they have any books about chimneys?

Stacks of them.

Mungo: I guess they'll be expensive?

No, the first one is on the house.  

Tamsin: This Screwey whatsit is all double Dutch to me.

The Dewey Decimal system is used the world over; here is a bibliotheek bench in the Netherlands.

Dewey is a much loved system. 

Eddie: Some people prefer pulled pork though.

Mungo: I don't. I'm a vegetarian.

Root, drunken son of Lord Brassica: I like the sound of those beers. Twenty is not enough though. I drink twenty for my elevensies.

Tamsin: I still don't understand this Pewey business. I have a baby named Isambard Kevin. What if I wanted to find a book for babies?

You could go into Children's Fiction and find Dr. Seuss. 

Tamsin: Isambard doesn't need a doctor. He's not ill. 

Dr. Seuss writes books you can read to children. Like The Cat in the Hat Came Back.

Meredith: This isn't strictly speaking a Cat Book though.

Alright then, Green Eggs and Ham.

Eddie: I wouldn't fancy green eggs. They've probably gone off.

Miggy: A bit like Captain Scott of the Antarctic. Didn't he go off somewhere?

Eddie: Yes, he said he might be some time.

Mungo: I don't eat ham. I'm a vegetarian.

Eddie: I wonder if the Dewey reference for Green Eggs and Ham would be 641 for Eggs or 621 for Ham?

His Excellency: 621 is for ham radios.

Meredith: There are different kinds of eggs, you know. Bird eggs are 598.147 whereas Easter eggs are 394.2667. 

Tamsin: Ohhhh, I love Easter eggs!

Miggy: Golly, this Green Eggs and Ham thing is complicated. 

Tamsin: What about the green?

Meredith: Depends if you mean green as in colour or green as in environmentally friendly.

Root: I like ham but I've never understood what green is for. Or Easter. Or books either, for that matter. What's the point?

I'm going to stop you all right there. Just STOP! 

You guys are worse than the trolls that go online ruining forums.

Tamsin: Ohhhhh, this troll is soooooo cute! I think I saw him at the library.

Meredith: Don't be silly, Tamsin. Trolls only exist in fairy tales.

April, May, June: We still believe in 398.2

His Excellency: That's fairy tales, for those of you who aren't familiar with Dewey.

Eddie: I've got news for you.

image from Joanna Michalak

Root: I met a girl named Fairy in the pub the other night. Last name was Liquid.

Miggy: I'll bet you were all in favour of that, Root. As long as the liquid was beer.

Right, I've calmed down now and I'd like to get back to the subject of benches books lemons beer benches reading.

April, May, June: Everyone should read.

Lord Brassica: I've only ever read one book. 

What book was that, Lord B?

Lord Brassica: I don't remember. It was yellow.

I'd have thought with all those cows you've got you'd have consulted a library once or twice.

Lord Brassica: No idea how I'd find a book.

Well, that's exactly what Dewey is for. You could go straight to 636.2 and find a book about cows.


Lord Brassica: Lord love a duck! I didn't know it was that easy.

If you wanted Duck benches, you'd go to 333.95841.

Eddie: Memorising all those numbers would drive me quackers.

Mungo: You need to be Sherlock Holmes to find a book in this system. 

No, it's elementary my dear Watson.

Miggy: If you ask me, the Dewey System is a bit of a ball and chain.

Tamsin: I was looking for the books about Houdini but they seem to have disappeared.

Mungo: I know what you mean. I was going to study escapology.

You need to get out more.

Miggy: If I wanted a book bench I'd just go and ask a librarian.

Lord Brassica: I wouldn't. The librarians at my public school were dragons.

Well, that's not the case now. Librarians always try to be a little kinder than is necessary.

His Excellency: It's true that librarians in the past were not always seen as friendly or helpful. 

Eddie: They were best known for Sssshhhing people.

Yes, back in the day people visiting the library liked to sit quietly.

They didn't mess around on library benches and disturb other people.

Lord Brassica: I say, this is my own private library. My son and his friends get up to a bit of high jinks in there with drinking and whatnot. Makes good use of the room. Though I don't care for the fires they make when they burn the books.

Meredith: This is outrageous. Even kittens know how to behave in libraries.

Sean and Seamus: Yes, we'd like to say something in praise of librarians.

Miggy: Librarians were the original search engines.

That's true, Migs. And nowadays librarians help people resource all kinds of material. They even do storytelling and reading sessions for children. 

They aren't seen as monsters anymore.

Lord Brassica: By jove, this looks like the woman who used to run the Paradise Island Library. 

Not now. This is the current librarian.

His Excellency: I wonder if she would help me dust off my Deweys?

Root: She can read me a fairy tale any day! 

Lord Brassica: I say, I'm going to get down there and check her out.

That's enough fixation on librarians. Let's move on. 

Nowadays libraries are friendly and welcoming social spaces. All kinds of people use them.

They're a place where people meet up.

Tamsin: Kind of a face-to-Facebook.

Or you can find a comfy sofa and make yourself at home with a book.

Lord Brassica: I don't approve of this kind of thing. Feet on the sofa and whatnot.

Times are changing, Lord B. Some libraries even have cafes.

And toilets where you can read books.

Root: How would you find a toilet in a library?

Mungo: I hope it's not urgent. Like libraries, public toilets are often closed at week-ends.

Eddie: In this library toilets don't seem to have a Dewey number. 

Lord Brassica: Bare feet? In a library? What the Dickens has the world come to?

Miggy: Depends whether you have great expectations I think. 

From what I've seen in libraries lately, you can pretty much do as you like.

Lord Brassica: This chap needs to be told to sit up straight. Where on earth are the librarians when you need them? 

They're never where you think they are.

Miggy: Maybe they're in the garden? 

Yes, even some of the smallest libraries have garden benches.

His Excellency: Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, deerit nihil. That's Latin by the way. Languages. 470 according to Dewey.

Eddie: If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need. 

Tamsin: What if the library has only one book and somebody is already reading it? 

Well, you can wait for them to finish, or you can try to persuade them to hand it over.

photo by Pat Mcdonald

Meredith:  I'm going to go and check out some of the cat books in the Fribble mobile library.

Mungo: Now that the library van is smaller, the choice is limited.

His Excellency: Yes, because of funding cuts, there are people who are out to destroy our libraries.

Miggy: And people who want to get rid of Dewey.

And people who set out to make a mess of other people's blogs.

Eddie: Is there a book about paranoia?

Who wants to know?

Miggy: Happy World Book Day, everyone!

Yes, it's time to find a book park and dance around the benches. 


I hope this forum has convinced you that here on Paradise Island we are literate and extremely learned folk. For more about the book-reading citizens of Fribble and Drizzly, see who's who in Fribble-under-Par.  And see how we celebrate National Poetry Day at  As my husband suggests, there is also another stack of book benches for World Book Day back in 2013 at  but it's not for the faint-hearted. 

It's true that local libraries are disappearing fast. Here on Paradise Island we've lost several. They're closing school libraries too. Apparently there are now more libraries in Britain’s prisons than there are in its schools. Source:  1,411 QI Facts at  page 322

The brilliant first photo of the chainsaw bookends is from Knob Creek Metal Arts in Louisville, Kentucky. They do a huge range of metal arts products, especially bookends. These are not bookends you are likely to have seen before. I can only suggest you have a look at

The bench with Einstein's famous formula is called Blue Power and it's located at the Rundell Library in Rochester, New York. It's one of the many benches in Rochester which have featured in Benchsite. Many, including this one, were photographed by Liren Chen at  The sponsor of Blue Power is R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant and the artist is Karen Elizabeth Sullivan.
Location: Rundell Library, Rochester, NY

I have two husbands. One is Mungo, my imaginary husband, who features in lots of Benchsite stories. My other husband is His Excellency, who is a philosopher and, to say the least, not a very practical person. Read about both of them at  And should you be further interested, you can read about their school benches; you'll learn a lot.

The little free library with a yellow bench was photographed by Andrei Papaz at Upper Beaches in Toronto in 2014. Andrei is a programmer in Toronto and gets out and about in Canada. His albums are like a travel book of Canadian life and events.  

The baby librarian is Socha, photographed by Jeff, the mountain pirate, in 2013. According to Jeff, Socha prefers the pull all the books off the shelf and chew on them organizational system over the Dewey Decimal System. Jeff is a science teacher in Somerville, New Jersey. His albums are full of Socha's progress through life.  

Tamsin Pink is a sweet local girl who works here in Fribble-under-Par in the Not Quite Good Enough pharmacy. Tamsin is the Queen of Cute and she's very sweet but golly, she's not a bright budgie. Still, she has a unique perspective on benches. And if you think my love life is complicated, you ought to see Tamsin's

Books About Town book benches appeared all around London in the summer of 2014  This collection of 50 literary-inspired book benches celebrated writers with a London connection and raised £250,000 for the National Literacy Trust.  They were much photographed and I am pleased to say that many of them appear on Flickr Creative Commons. Two photographers, Martin Pettitt and Maureen Barlin, photographed them all and I have used their high quality photographs extensively in this story, along with a few others who photographed the London book benches for Creative Commons. The full Flickr group of all the 50 benches is at  

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, is a very well known book featuring Mowgli, the boy raised by wolves, Baloo the sleepy brown bear, Bagheera the cunning black panther, and Kaa the python. The book bench was at Greenwich and the artist is Ruth Green. The photographer is Martin Pettitt, who lives in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.

Eddie is my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate. If you've seen much of Benchsite you will know that Eddie has a habit of setting his own agenda with the Benchsite stories. Look what a mess he made great job he did on St. George's Day. And as for my Red benches in February? No wonder I was very grateful seeing red. I've had a bit of a break from him as he's been in Mexico seeing the fiesta of Mexican benches. Now he's back and his endless primate pictures are in danger of overwhelming my stories.

Dewey is cool! If you doubt it, have a look at the thousands of Dewey-ish products and photographs available. Mevil Dewey (1851-1931) would turn in his page grave if he knew his catalogue system was still in place in the internet age. For true Dewey geeks who really want to get to grips with the complexity of the system, here's more than you want to know, plus some self tests:  Go on, I dare you.  And if you don't want to know but just want to celebrate Dewey a bit, here's a New Age Mevil Dewey doing the Dewey Decimal Rap 

Back in 2006 Lenore Edman had a thing for temporary tattoos. I Heart Dewey Decimal System was one of them, photographed for Flickr at  Lenore, from Sunnyvale, California, is an Evil Mad Scientist. Her albums are full of her surprising scientific discoveries and creations. Read about her cool Hannukah present, The Illustrated Librarian: 12 Temporary Tattoos for Librarians and Booklovers at

The Dewey Decimal System Poster is a creation which Maggie Appleton found and then remade for her mother in 2011. Her mother is a librarian - no surprise there. First, Maggie found a retro illustration by Susanna Ryan and then, wanting a few things changed, she re-made it with different colour co-ordination and some new illustrations. Et voila!

April, age six, is a Fribble resident. She has two parallel selves, May and June (also age six). The girls celebrate holidays by driving their cars on the benches along the seafront. They also like Squeezy their pet lemon, and Tamsin's baby Isambard. Squeezy looks a bit sinister to me but maybe he's just a sourpuss. 

It's hard to believe that We're Going on a Bear Hunt is 25 years old. The winner of the 1989 Nestle Smarties Book Prize and 2011 Mumsnet Best Award, Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen, is a timeless classic that is enjoyed by children of all ages. The illustrator of the book is Helen Oxenbury, who also designed the book bench.The book bench was at Greenwich, photographed by Maureen Barlin.

Paddington, by Michael Bond, is London’s most iconic bear. He was found at Paddington Station in London where he was sitting on a small suitcase with a label round his neck with the words Please Look After This BearPaddington originally came from Darkest Peru where he was brought up by his Aunt Lucy. He has had a new lease of life since the recent film. This summer Paddington lovers were invited to join him on the book bench for a marmalade sandwich. The book bench was photographed by Hey Wayne and the artist is Michelle Heron   

The joke about a hardback turtle book is by Mark Simmons and was one of the best of the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2015.  

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly, is a gentleman farmer here on Paradise Island. However, it has emerged that he doesn't know as much as you'd think about farm animal benches, especially cow benches or sheep benches. He knows a bit more about horse benches, learned from his horse Tonks, and possibly something about dog benches from his dog Pru. What he really knows though, is picnic benches

The joke about reading one book is from Nancy Mitford's novels about her family. Her father, the 2nd Lord Redesdale, claimed to have only ever read one book (White Fang, by Jack London). This seems unlikely as the family had a whole library of books.

Guess which bench fetched the most money in the auction of the London Book Benches? Jeeves and Wooster, of course! It sold for £9,500 and it crossed my mind that Lord Brassica might have bought it as he's a huge fan. The first short story to feature Jeeves and Wooster was published in 1915 and author PG Wodehouse produced 35 short stories and 11 novels about Bertie Wooster and his long-suffering valet Jeeves. The stories were adapted for a television series starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. You've read the books, you've seen the TV series, now sit on the book bench by artist Gordon Allum. The Jeeves and Wooster book bench was photographed by Heywayne  

Meredith is a professional cat editor from animal editors dot com. She's a beautiful cat but as an editor she leaves a lot to be desired. I thought she'd be helpful for my Cat Benches blog but it turned into a cat fight. Then I tried again with piano benches and we hit a wrong note.

The panda says That's not my bench, but actually it is  And it's the meerkat's bench too, on the other side. Usborne's That's not my Bench is part of the  bestselling That's Not My Meerkat/Piglet/Panda series by Fiona Watt. The artists are Rachel Wells, Jenny Hilborne and Sarah Jane Richards. Both sides of the book bench were photographed by Maureen Barlin at Cheapside  

The Gruffalo is one of the world's best-loved monsters and his book bench was at Bankside, photographed by Martin Pettitt.   The Gruffalo bench is inspired by characters from artist Axel Scheffler and writer Julia Donaldson, who first teamed up in 1993 and since then they have published 12 books, including The Gruffalo in 1999. 

The library shelves reaching to the sea really do suggest travel, do they not? They were photographed by Paul Amiko, who is an artist on the road between Kentucky and Florida. These days his photography has taken a backseat to his painting.  Should you care to find some travel information, you'll find Travel at 914-919. Here on Benchsite we get around. On our missions for finding the best benches we've been to Greece, Italy, Las Vegas, and Japan.

Maureen Barlin photographed the front of the bench for Stephen Hawking's best-selling 1988 book A Brief History of Time  Maureen lives in Richmond near London and gets out and about throughout the UK with her camera. She has glorious albums of all kinds of art, culture and fun events.

The joke about escapologists needing to get out more is from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival's list of Best One liners in 2016. The chimney joke is by Tim Vine, the best of Edinburgh one liners in 2014. 

The Around the World in Eighty Days book bench was at Stanford's Travel book store in Covent Garden. Published in 1873 by the French writer Jules Verne, it's a classic adventure novel in which Phileas Fogg of London and his French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in, umh, 80 days. The bench artist is Valerie Osment and the photographer is Martin Pettitt.

Meredith likes cat-centred holidays so not surprisingly, she has chosen a lion to show her the sights of London. Written and illustrated by James Mayhew, Katie in London tells the story of Katie and her brother Jack, who are befriended by a stone lion who comes alive and takes them on a tour of the city. The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye - it's a great day out in London. The photographer of the book bench is Farlukar at   

At the back of the book bench, Sit Here At Your Own Risk illustrates an explosive Brief History of Time by artist Paraigh O'Driscoll. The book, of course, is by Stephen Hawking. Martin Pettitt photographed the bench at Monument

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack is known as the Bible of Cricket. Published annually since 1864, it is considered the world's most famous sports reference book and the longest running sports annual in history. The splendid book bench was at London Wall, photographed by Maureen Barlin. The artist is Trevor Skempton 

The Noughts and Crosses series is by Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman, who describes a fictional, racist dystopia in which a romance builds between Sephy and Callum. Sephy is a Cross – a member of the dark-skinned ruling class and Callum is a Nought – a colourless member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. There's going to be trouble. The bench artist is Oliver Dean and the photographer is Martin Pettitt. 

Some of the words on the Dutch Dewey information table look kind of familiar don't they? You don't need a good grasp of Dutch to work them out. Techniek, for example? Fotographie? Muzik?  OK, then, what about Internet. Or Film. The photograph is by Jen Sharp, taken in 2007. Jen, from New Orleans, sounds like a very interesting person. She describes her occupation as Vespa New Orleans Princess, bookbindin' & travellin'  

The Bibliotheek bench was photographed in the lobby of the Koninklijke library/bibliotheek in The Hague. The photographer is librarian Mace Ojala  For some brilliant and extreme Dutch benches see Benchsite's Alphabet of Dutch Benches 

We love the Dewey Decimal System is one of many celebratory photos I found in favour of the system. Admittedly, these are mostly librarians. This particular photo is by the unquiet librarian in 2013.  

Sarah Houghton, another librarian, was in New Orleans in 2011 and photographed the pulled pork sign. The Dewey Decimal-ness of this would have caught her interest. But I suspect here it refers to Dewey and the Decimals, a band which plays all over the place, including in libraries. Is pulled pork really preferable to Dewey and his Decimals though? I doubt it.  

The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is by Oscar Wilde and was first performed on 14 February, 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London. The book bench was photographed in Bloomsbury by Martin Pettitt.

I grew up with Dr Seuss and it never did me any harm. The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas - we had them all. Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote 46 children's books and created The Cat in the Hat in 1957 in response to a debate in the United States about literacy in early childhood. The Dr. Seuss book bench was photographed by Angie Fiedler Sutton in Greenwich. The artist is Jane Headford 

The little white bunny baby is Riley Cole Hinkle at Easter 2009. It was bright and he needed to wear his sunglasses, along with his bunny ears. The photograph was taken by Hinkle.Riley and available at

The Frozen in Time book bench is for the diary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, better known as Scott of the Antarctic. Born in 1868, Scott was a Royal Navy officer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic: the Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition which claimed his life in 1912. Scott's diary has been in print since it was first published in 1913 and has sold almost 250,000 copies. The bench artist is Charles Bezzina. It was photographed by Maureen Barlin at Greenwich  Speaking of Frozen, we've had some very cold benches from Snowvenia this winter. 

The slightly scary green troll is a wool felted sculpture by Kelly Riley in Bend, Oregon. Kelly does fiber art, felt art, felt supplies, and original music. Some of her photographs and sculptures, such as Nora the sheep, have already featured on Benchsite. Her etsy shop is at

Root is the son of Lord and Lady Brassica of Drizzly.Whilst Lady B is gorgeous and Lord B is wealthy and personable, Root has none of these qualities. In fact, he has no qualities whatsoever, as became apparent in my Bus Stop benches blog. Maybe someone ought to lay down the law about his bench behaviour.

We still believe in 398.2 is one of the many Dewey Decimal-inspired products on etsy. This one is by Andrea, the Little Gem Girl from Seattle. She makes, among other things, handmade personalized jewelry, wedding keepsakes and accessories, glass bottle magic potion necklaces, Scrabble tile necklace pendants, photo coasters and decorative custom photo word blocks

There's no such thing as the Dog Poo Fairy appears on stickers all over the Isle of Wight, and probably elsewhere. This one was photographed by Joanna Michalak. 

Everyone should read is a Pro-reading bench photographed by Ewan Munro in 2009 in the London Borough of Southwark. Ewan is something of a pubologist and is making it his mission to photograph all the pubs in London

Larry the cow is from Krappistan, a nation whose whereabouts hasn't quite been established. But last May Larry and his owner Blogda visited from Krappistan and attempted to put it on the map amidst the other snazzy European Union benches. In my view, neither Blogda nor Krappistan came out of it well but Larry maintained his dignity, despite being animal quarantined. 
Cool Bench is the duck bench, seen at the Mt Prospect Public Library in Mt Prospect, Illinois in 2007. It was photographed by Anthony Auston, who is, inevitably, a librarian. Monty the duck lends a touch of whimsy to the Youth area of the library and is a great meeting place for lost parents. Designed and executed out of steel by artist OK Harris of Albuquerque, New Mexico, it is a popular attraction for all ages. The bench was donated in 2007 by the Friends of the Library 

I just have a few questions for you to help me with my enquiries. Does the address 221b Baker Street ring a bell? Do you know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? And where were you in the summer of 2014? If you were in the vacinity of Bloomsbury in London you'll have seen the Sherlock Holmes book bench, photographed here by Martin Pettitt.  The artist is Valerie Osment and in July 2014 fifty Sherlocks visited the book bench. 

Sitting on History is a bench sculpture by Bill Woodrow, 1995 at  I photographed this bench at Cass Sculpture Park in 2009.

Michael Dexter Design/DexMex is proud to be rated as one of Etsy's top art sellers, specializing in unique wedding and engagement gifts, and a wide variety of vintage-inspired designs and framed art prints. Michael's eclectic style is a fusion of vintage art and modern design and he loves mixing traditional and nostalgic images with a new contemporary edge. One of his works is the brilliant and scary Shhhing librarian.

He liked to sit quietly is a lovely message carved into a granite planter bench behind the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont. The photographer is Don Shall from Maine, who saw the bench in 2010. The Kellogg-Hubbard Library, as a part of the Montpelier Historic District, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places (#78000246), since 1978.

The statue of a woman on a bench reading to a child is at the entrance to the Taylor Public Library in Taylor, Texas. The statue was donated by the Taylor Women's Study Club and was photographed for the library's Flickr site in 2007. 

How to Train Your Dragon is a book by Cressida Cowell. You may have seen the film, which came from the books about Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, who was an awesome sword-fighter, a dragon-whisperer and the greatest Viking Hero who ever lived. A pet dragon? Where would that be in the Dewey System? The dragon book bench was photographed by Davide d'Amico, an IT manager living in London 

Try to be kinder than is necessary is from Peter Pan by JM Barrie. Written in 1902, Peter Pen and Wendy are among the best-loved characters in fiction. The bench artist is Sian Storey and the Peter Pan book bench was located in Holborn. It was photographed by Martin Pettitt.

The Librarian is the name of the monstery gorilla librarian encountered by Lord Brassica at boarding school. Er, no. The Librarian is a character who first appears in the debut novel, The Colour of Magic by author Terry Pratchett. His Discworld books have sold over 80 million in 37 languages. Artist Paul Kidby designed both the book bench and many of the Discworld book covers. The bench photographer is James Cullen, who lives in Washington DC

There was a very sexy Second Life librarian rocking the Dewey Decimal System back in 2012. She's by Suzy Forcella or perhaps she even IS Suzy Forcella. Suzy spent five years in Second Life and is available for modelling. She's originally from Italy, never drools in her sleep, and her blood is 75% Dr. Pepper.

If you want to see an old fashioned, unpleasant librarian from back in the day, British comedians Robert Webb and David Mitchell have a number of sketches that will do the trick. Here is Robert Webb as the Insulting Librarian from 2008. You have been warned! 

The Carl A. Pescosolido Library in Byfield, Massachusetts serves the faculty and students of The Governor's Academy, founded 1763 through a bequest by Lieutenant Governor William Dummer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Pesky Library has some pesky librarians working there. They run a blog, a catalogue, an archive, a Flickr photostream, and a Pesky Library Thing. They photograph loads of their books and also this bench with different kinds of people who use the library.

Lea Vivot is a internationally renown artist who resides in Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada. She was born in Sumperk, Czechoslovakia and is active in sculpture, drawing and printmaking. She is internationally known for her life-size bronze sculptures, such as The Secret Bench of Knowledge, which is in front of the National Library of Canada, in Ottawa. Her sculptures are always full of humanity and she often depicts families, couples, mothers and children. The large scale of her work calls for the interaction with the public and Lea Vivot likes to include inscribed messages by people from all walks of life. The Secret Bench has handwritten messages expressing the hopes and fears of children.

Massimo Barbieri from Italy has some strange and fascinating photos on Flickr, but no profile. All I know about him is this: he photographed the face-to-face book photo in August 2008, when Facebook was celebrating its 150 million users. Massimo said Don't count on me: I closed my account yesterday. He also said the book is a Public Domain image by Skander.

Girl Engrossed is the book bench by artist Andrea Joseph, who was inspired by the Adrian Mole diaries of the 1980s. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, by Sue Townsend, tells the story of a boy, age thirteen and three quarters, and the various trials of life as he grew up. Pandora is his girl friend so I expect she is the engrossed girl on the bench. The Adrian Mole book bench was in Greenwich, photographed by Maureen Barlin

Lots of Reading Going On is a photograph by Jocelyn Kinghorn from Christchurch, New Zealand. She likes to walk around her city and photograph what's going on. In May 2014 artist Jeremy Sauzier captured shadows on New Regent Street's boarded-up shop fronts. By night, the artist captures the outline of people's shadows with a tripod, a light and a chalk pen. By day, he fills them in with shades of blue. The artist describes the work as  . . . a sort of a play on words between literally standing still and a frieze.

The round wooden library toilet is at the  Musée du Livre et des Lettres Henri Pollès (Henri Pollès Museum of Books and Letters) in Rennes in France. The salle de bain was photographed by the library's Bibliothécaire in 2009.  For a comprehensive view of amazing toilet benches, see

The statue of a child reading on a bench is called Captivated. It's in the public library in St. Helier in Jersey. That's in the Channel Islands, where Meredith the cat helped me find all the best benches in St. Helier. How well did Meredith do? Well, let's just say it was a catastrophe.

Dickens in Liverpool was a book bench in Cheapside. I'm sure I don't need to tell you who Dickens is. So great are the expectations of Dickens and so inextricably linked with London is he that he actually has two book benches in the book bench exhibition. This bench was painted by Hillside School pupils in Liverpool.

The guy reading face down is Benny, the prone reader. He was photographed in 2007 at the Hancock County Library in St Louis. The photographer is Social_Stratification, who has a website in the Deep South called Social Stratification in the Deep South  

When Guardian readers were asked to vote for their favourite literary work to be immortalised as a Book Bench they chose Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. The bench has been brought to life by illustrator and cartoonist Chris Riddell and is on display at King’s Place, the Guardian’s headquarters in Kings Cross. Neverwhere was photographed by Martin Pettitt

The little front yard library was photographed in Madison, Wisconsin by Ali Eminov, who has a fascinating life history. Now a retired Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, he lives in Wayne, Nebraska and does a lot of travelling  

The photo with Mark Twain reading a book was taken at Walter's Ferry on the Snake River in Idaho many years ago. Pat McDonald from Boise photographed his cousin Gerhard from Germany, who appears to be trying to persuade Twain to put down his book. If it's Huckleberry Finn, no wonder he wants to keep reading. Cleo's Ferry Museum is a sculpture park in Melba, Idaho, and from all accounts, it's a gem of a place. Many thanks to Pat for making me aware of it. 

The bench with a plaque in memory of Maggie Burns is in the secret garden at the splendid new Birmingham Library which opened in 2014. It was photographed by Tracey DW at 

The brilliant Bench dot car was photographed in Salzburg in 2009 by Caleb Maclellan. Caleb is an extremely well travelled freelance programmer who lives in Colorado. His photostream includes glorious photos of the Alps in Germany and Switzerland.  I get high on alpine benches! Find out what happens when a Swiss policeman pursued Miggy and Mungo through the Alps last summer. 

Next time on Benchsite: We'll be in Ireland looking at St. Patrick's Day benches. Quite a few of them will be green I think. The Dewey number for Ireland in all its forms is 941; strangely, this includes Scotland. The Irish language can be found in 490. And for Anglo-Irish literature try 828.99. 

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