Topics covered in the In-Universe FAQ that should be addressed in the new FAQ
Should be linked to from the Orientation page!

Hello, and welcome to the introductory collection of the Association of Wanderers. We who spend much time in the Library wish to curate a collection that may help folk new to the Library quickly acclimate themselves. What follows are letters, informal interviews, excerpts from books, and links to longer pieces within the Library's systems. Please feel free to add your own. You are all welcome in the Association of Wanderers! (Please note that the Library and its Librarians do not officially endorse any group within its domain, including the Association of Wanderers.)

The Patchwork Man has written a brief Introduction to the Library, based off of what he claims is another's first introduction to the Library. If you have never seen the Library, and wish to prepare yourself for the experience beforehand, this may be a useful piece to read.

A brief vision of seeing the Library for the first time. A memory donated by M.M. Gaffsey please edit this memory to add more fun stuff?

The memory begins.

You find yourself walking through a door into the stacks. The shelves rise above you into the darkness. There are books as far as you can see. You walk toward the brightest part of the Library and arrive in the main hall, where the front desk and the Librarians called Archivists are. The main hall is set up for occupation: Long tables, couches, and comfortable chairs are used by patrons, some set individually, some made for group discussions. There are hundreds of people here, and the hall could comfortably hold thousands.

You also see atria around the hall being put to other uses. As you make your tour, you weave your way through discussion rooms, storage, and even gardens and greenhouses. A magician artists circle has set up a gallery of magical constructs, moving paintings and sculptures. There are patrons you find sleeping here, and others have set up shops. There's a coffee house in one of the atria closest by. You walk towards it.

The memory ends.

(Interview Question, A. Alcia)
"What is the Wanderers' Library? That's a big question. I hope you're prepared to ask questions as big as those. You never know what answer you might get.

"You just want the simple answer? That's easy enough. Let me see here. I'll give you the standard spiel. The Library is a place that contains almost every book ever written, and many that never were. There are books here that haven't yet been written, at books that will never be written, that can never be written. And there are a few books which are not in the Library, yes, but oh, few, very few.

"Oh yes, the Library is large. Very large indeed. No one knows for certain exactly how big it is. It doesn't seem to move around as much as people claim, but trying to pin it down is an exercise in madness. For instance, if you start from here, in this central lobby, you'll walk about half a day before you reach the back wall. But if you start from just over that way — see? — you'll take about a week. I've tried it myself, when I was younger and had more time to waste. I assure you, it is larger than any building on Earth made by the hands of humans.

"And back then I didn't even know about the other wings. The Library has wings the size of continents, you know? And that's just the stuff we humanoids can access — yes, I do count as a humanoid, thank you very much, don't be rude. The Library doesn't just serve humanoids, nor people of the calm shapes you see in this lobby — of course not. Nor is this the only lobby. There are whole wings full of oceans, of stars, of twisted in-between space, of time out of joint… and more you can't even imagine. All full of books, oh yes, or things like books, things the Library would call books. The people who go there to check things out… let's just say you'll likely never meet them. They are all in the Archives, or more properly, on the other side of the Archives.

"'The Archives' just means the parts of the Library that you need a Librarian to access. That includes those alien wings I told you about, and it includes the employees-only parts of the Library, the internal clockwork. The boiler room, the clock room, and the scriptorium — yes, only one boiler room for the entire Library. 'Why?' If you understood a single thing about magic, you wouldn't ask 'why'.

"Even in our part of the Library you can find books that aren't for humanoids. Let me think. I've seen a lot of books that are printed in ink which can only be seen in UV light. Carved stone meant to be felt bail-style by tentacles. Even jars of cyanide gas with trace elements which are sniffed altering silicon conductivity in the brain of the sniffer to add or remove information. Fatal to humans without proper precaution, but they all have warning labels, and if you can't read things in a library, then I do not feel sorry for you.

"What's on top of the shelves? Climb up there and find out. You'll see more shelves as far as you can see. Here in this lobby, I think you'll find fairies, too, and worse things, up there. But don't worry. Like everything else in the Library, they can't hurt you without the Librarians losing their shit, and believe me that is something no one wants to see. Oh, outside the Archives, anyway, but we'll get to that, and you shouldn't be in the Archives anyway, should you?

"No, the Library isn't on any world. Don't try to think of it that way. We exist entirely outside of normal space. The are doors that lead here throughout Earth, yes, through all the worlds, at least all the worlds I've ever heard of.

"Why does the Library exist? Why not? The Librarians will tell you that the Library exists to collect and make available the books. Which is tautological, I grant you, but do you need a better answer? Knowledge holds the universe together. The Library is the greatest nexus of knowledge in the entire multiverse. Don't you think that's something?

"How does the Library get books… well, how do you get books? Well, alright, a real answer. Librarians go and find them. Scholars often bring in new books. There are Librarians called Scribes who make copies of books to add them to the shelves. And sometimes books disappear from various collections in the world and turn up in the Library. We assume it's some function of the Library that the Librarians haven't yet felt like explaining. And sometimes the Library will commission people to get certain books for it. If you wish to get the Library on your good side, ask a Librarian if you can help retrieve one… but I'm getting ahead of myself.

"Technology? I don't understand the question. Oh — you're asking because of all the magic here, and because quite naturally you have read too many books! No, technology works perfectly normally here. You can see people plugging in their laptops just over there. There's working WiFi in this area, even, which someone had to explain to me — no, I don't live under a rock, I'm just not from Earth, thank you very much. Do I look like I'm from Earth? — Okay, fair enough. Stranger things, indeed.

"That applies to the laws of physics, as well. We're mostly networked to a particular group of worlds in this part of the Library, including your Earth, all roughly compatible with each other. Determined by the Library, not anyone else. Magic can vary more, but magic always does. Things like time, gravity, oxygenated air — that's mostly going to be the same as what you're used to, unless the Library has a reason to cheat around it.

"It won't kill you, though. No patrons get harmed in the Library, if the Library can help it. The only things that will kill you here is the knowledge you gain from these books… and that all depends on what you choose to do with it. The choice is yours."

Author's Note: Since the first edition of this book, readers have sent message spells requesting that I include some sort of map or at least general guide to the layout of the Library. While nothing would make me happier, the main hall of the Library is at least four days' walk from end to end. Rather than walking all that distance, it's much easier to just ask a Docent to take you where you need to go, as they can either take you directly, or show you a Way that will take you to where you need to go.

Also, there's the small issue that Library never rests. The layout changes periodically, sometimes with minor changes, sometimes with major ones. I think that most of these changes are just to accommodate more books, but who knows? Either way, a map of the Library would be useless by the time that anyone read it. That's why I choose to go by landmarks and places frequented by Patrons. The Library mostly keeps its shape in those places. The Kaliputra Media Room, for example, has remained the same size since 1986. The Grand Hall hasn't changed since I began coming here.

- Balbaph Nine-Eyes, Do's, Don'ts, and Docents: A Wanderer's Unauthorized Guide To The Library

Yes, since you ask, the answers for the examinations are there. Every edition of every year since there were examinations. Some of them are for years yet to come. To become an official of the first rank would be trivial.

But I feel that you are missing the point. With this place, we no longer have any need for the examinations! There are more books than there are leaves in a forest. Every word on every subject. The encyclopedias of the School of Names. Operas from Daqin and places further still. Romances between raindrops. This place is not just some tool to be used for personal gain; it is everything that ever was or will be that is worth knowing. To ask if it will help you or I pass the civil service examination is to ask whether a mountain can divert a stream.

- Letter from Liang Lei to Chi Yu

Of theories regarding the placement of books tomes &c, there are countleſs number. You are, of courſe, familiar with thoughts of Mr. Bruce, ſo with thoſe I ſhall not trouble you. ſuffice to ſay, I do not think that ſuch a quantity of molluſcs is to be found anywhere in Creation.

ſome have expounded that the Library ſimply exchanges books for favors. However, where ſuch the case, the ſheer volume of tomes would mean that the ledger of the Library would never be clear.

Some wanderers from the lands of the Turk tell of a bound angel ſpeaking at great volume and ſpeed in the heart of the Library, whereupon all manner of diſtinctive creature tranſcribe the utterances of the ſpirit. ſuch ſtatements are clearly ridiculous, unleſs the angel tells, in perfect clarity and in perfect order, every word of every work on every ſubject. Others believe it to be a "graveyard" of books, a Valhalla of words. ſuch a theory is ridiculous on its face as one may find tomes yet unwritten within the halls of the Library.

My own theory is that the Library is an organiſm itſelf, ſuſtaining itſelf through knowledge. Materials ſuch as inks or bloods infuſed with knowledge, whether true or falſe, are as manna to the Library. The docents and archiviſts and other ſuch creatures are naught but organs. The ways which lead to the beaſt are mere tunnels, much as those that a rat or hare might dig in seeking food. This is my thought on the ſubject, although I muſt admit I am reluctant to write of it at any great length; the teeth of the beast ſnatch with much greed and I ſhudder to think at the possible outcomes of its diſcovery of my theories.

- William O'Brien, 4th Earl of Inchiquin, c. 1757. Recipient unknown.

For the boring:

When done, get rid of Explanation, Librarians. Fold Site FAQ into Members Orientation. pMoose says no don't get rid of everything, keep Librarians for instance, why not let people do their own stuff, that would set good precedent; just link it from here]

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