The Great Library of Sanctaphrax was the first Great Library of the earth-scholars. After the sky-scholars took over, the Great Library was forgotten and fell into neglect. The interior smelled of pine-sap and leaf mould.
The Great Library was next to the Loftus Observatory and south of the School of Mist, but perpetually cast in shadows. It was easy to be missed despite its great size because its understated design didn't stand out. The wooden design was simple: a low circular wall with a roof that resembled an umbrella and a comparatively small observation tower.
InteriorThe Great Library housed many thousands of barkscrolls, each arranged according to class and hanging from a corresponding 'tree'. These were over a hundred massive beams, or tree-pillars, set into the floor of packed earth that divided into the so-called 'branches', arches and cross-beams far above the ground. Up there, a system of ladder-ways, hanging-baskets and rope-pulleys gave access to the 'twigs', where the barkscrolls themselves hung. The upper area was well ventilated to preserve the bark and lit naturally by either the sun or the moon.
A scholar would have to scale the trees and navigate a complex system of baskets on ropes to find the desired barkscroll: The tree-pillars bore copperwood plaques like 'Social Gestures', 'Aerial Creatures' and 'Carnivorous Flora', which described the contents of the barkscrolls hanging from the tree's twigs. Having chosen the desired tree, the scholar would use the pegs on the sides of the trees as hand- and footholds and ascend vertically. The tree-pillar then was divided into the branches labeled with a positive or negative option, for example 'Bird/not bird', 'Inevitable/ not inevitable', 'Stable/not stable' and 'Sane/not sane'. The so called 'negative ascent' meant that one would always follow the 'not-' branch. Twigs would then be labeled for example 'Legendary' or 'Celestial' and the desired barkscroll could be found in the bundle of barkscrolls that hung, often in holders, from that twig or a crossing of several twigs.
The Great Library was be overseen by an earth scholar called the High Librarian, the most senior of all earth-scholars. The last of these was Bungus Septrill, serving as the High Librarian for many decades until the events of The Curse of the Gloamglozer.
Role in The Curse of the Gloamglozer
Soon after becoming apprenticed to Most High Academe, Linius Pallitax, Quint Verginix was tasked with locating a certain barkscroll and retrieving it from the Great Library. He searched for it all through the night and into the early hours of the new day before finding it. When he tucked the scroll into his shirt, the hanging-basket he was using fell. He was saved at the last minute by Bungus Septrill, but only learned the identity of his savior much later.