“Libraries are temples. They are the memory, the heritage, they are silent monuments to the genius of mankind. During the many centuries of human history, libraries have served as the treasury of human achievements and thoughts. Libraries, however, are not just storage places. They are living entities. Why do people go to libraries? Do we still need libraries? If libraries where only catalogues of items we wouldn’t probably need them anymore since everything can be found on the internet”.

As I said, however, libraries enjoy a separate, complementary function. Our entire existence is surrounded by chaos, noises and other disturbances to our soul. In libraries, we seek refuge from all that. We look for silence, for places entirely devoted to ideas. Like temples, libraries exist to preserve that silence and that space for our expression.

In libraries, we seek beauty. It is not surprising that many old libraries, from Strahov to the Archiginnasio of my own town, the ancient Bologna, the Alma Mater Studiorum, are among the most beloved places. Places of beauty, places of silence.

I came to the PPL looking for this: silence, beauty, a home away from home. I found it, and I love it.

The PPL is an incredible place. Every time I come I feel energised. The beauty of its gardens is simply breathtaking -nothing heals a confused soul like a flourished garden- but it is not only the place itself nor the fantastic collection of every possible book or article or judgment ever written in International and Comparative Law that makes it so unique. It might in itself suffice to make it so, but the PPL is much more than that.

When I came to The Hague to work on my Public International Law LLM at Leiden University, I didn’t know anyone. Then I came here. A joyful black kitten greeted me at its door. What a welcome!

Then I met Candice, Niels and the other librarians which I have the pleasure to call friends after many long months. They are the added value of your Library. Books, buildings, flowers, kittens are great, but the real difference lies in the human factor. They are the real added value not only of the PPL but of any place. Whenever I come, I know that I can count on Candice, Niels and the other great guys of the staff. They are immensely helpful.

At the PPL, I feel myself at the centre of the world. I am literally surrounded by the greatest internationalists in the world, I sit next to them. I can feel inexplicable energy. I feel challenged and encouraged to push myself to my limits.

That’s what is the PPL for me and that’s why I love it.

Giampaolo Guizardi Righetti LL.M

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