"400,000 volumes in vertiginous glory.
The Alexandrians employed climbing boys much in the same way as the Victorians employed sweeps. Unnamed bipeds, light as dust, gripping with swollen fingers and toes, the nooks and juts of sheer-faced walls."
Well, I could not resist sharing this link to Erik Kwakkel's wonderful blog post, showing the library at Sakya Monastery in Tibet. I'm amazed how closely it resembled the image I had in my mind after reading Winterson's words. Thankfully no climbing boys to be seen!